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PC World editor quits during dispute over Apple story [updated]

The Editor-in-Chief of PC World, Harry McCracken, quit the magazine abruptly on Wednesday after the company's new chief executive, Colin Crawford, tried to kill a story about Apple and Steve Jobs.

The piece, which Wired describes as a whimsical article titled "Ten Things We Hate About Apple," was reportedly still in draft form when Crawford axed it.

"It was supposed to be light fare, just really innocuous stuff," the tech publication quoted a source as saying. "The same kinds of things people have said about Apple before — things that teased Steve Jobs."

Since his arrival at PC World about a month ago, Crawford — a former CEO of Macworld — is also reported to have told editors that product reviews in the magazine were too critical of vendors, especially ones who advertise in the magazine, and that they had to start being nicer to advertisers.

When reached on his cell phone, McCracken failed to reveal the specifics of why he resigned but said he quit "because of some fundamental disagreements with [Crawford]."

Sources at PC World told Wired that Crawford refused to compromise on the Apple story, at which point McCracken said "no way" and walked out. Those same sources added that when Crawford was working for the Macworld, Jobs would call him up any time he had a problem with a story the magazine was about to run.

"This is no way to run a magazine," the source told Wired. "But unfortunately, this looks like an indication of what we've got in store (from the new boss)."

For his part, Crawford in a posting on his blog site called media reports on McCracken's departure inaccurate.

"I hold editorial integrity in the highest regard," he wrote. "Serving our readership with fair and unbiased content comes first."

Update: While Crawford declined the allegations on his blog, publications including CNET News.com have independently verified Wired's report:

"But three sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CNET News.com that McCracken informed staffers in an afternoon meeting Wednesday that he decided to resign because Colin Crawford, senior vice president, online, at IDG Communications, was pressuring him to avoid stories that were critical of major advertisers." (MacNN)