Patrick Joseph McGovern, Jr. (August 11, 1937 – March 19, 2014) was an American businessman, known for being chairman and co-founder of International Data Group (IDG), a company that includes subsidiaries in technology publishing, research, event management and venture capital.

Patrick J. McGovern
IDG Chairman Patrick Joseph McGovern.jpg
McGovern awarded the "Innovation Award" for VIA Nano Processor in 2009
Patrick Joseph McGovern, Jr.

August 11, 1937
Queens, New York
DiedMarch 19, 2014(2014-03-19) (aged 76)
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S., Biophysics, 1959)
Occupationbusinessman, publisher, entrepreneur
Known forfounding Computerworld magazine, large donation to MIT to found the McGovern Institute for Brain Research

He was listed on the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans in September, 2013 as having a net worth of $5.1 billion.[1]



Forbes magazine claims he earned a scholarship by designing an unbeatable tic-tac-toe program in the 1950s. He worked at the MIT student newspaper The Tech on the features staff during his sophomore year. McGovern received a degree in course 7, or biology/life sciences, from MIT, in 1959.[2][failed verification]

After university, his first job was a writer for Computers & Automation magazine; the first computer magazine, founded, published and edited by Edmund C. Berkeley. McGovern started International Data Corporation (IDC) in 1964, which produced a computer industry database (based on a customer list purloined from IBM) and published a newsletter, EDP Industry & Market Report (based on a newsletter, "ADP Newsletter", published by The Diebold Group). After three years, the company was losing money and McGovern contemplated liquidating it, until he hit on the idea of making the newsletter into a weekly newspaper Computerworld, in 1967. Subsequently, after failing to wrest control of "Computer and Automation" from his friend and mentor, Ed Berkeley, he started "PC World".

In 1980 he created one of the first American-Chinese joint ventures, and in 1997 Forbes estimated that "Pat McGovern has more readers in China than the People's Daily does."[3] In 1991 his company published "DOS For Dummies", the first of the very popular "For Dummies" series of books explaining various subjects to the lay person.[4] Bloomberg News reported that IDG had 280 million regular readers of its publications, and annual revenues of $3.6 billion.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Although born in Queens, New York, his family moved when he was a child to Philadelphia, where he delivered newspapers at the age of eight. He has been divorced once, has four children, and divided his time between Hillsborough, California and Hollis, New Hampshire. He and his second wife Lore Harp McGovern gave MIT $350 million to found the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. He was a trustee of MIT and of MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. He also served on Society for Science & the Public's board of trustees.[6]

At the time of his death, surviving family members included his wife, Lore Harp McGovern, a son, Patrick McGovern, daughter Elizabeth McGovern, two stepdaughters, Michelle Bethel and Dina Jackson, and nine grandchildren.[7]


In May 2012, Patrick McGovern had open heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He died on March 19, 2014, aged 76.[8][9]

IDG legacyEdit

After his death, the ownership of IDG was transferred to the McGovern Foundation; in 2016, the foundation retained Goldman Sachs to explore a sale.[10] On March 29, China Oceanwide Holdings Group announced the close of the acquisition of International Data Group, Inc. ("IDG").[11]


  1. ^ "Profile: Patrick McGovern", Forbes magazine,; accessed May 16, 2011.
  2. ^ "MIT 2009 Bronze Beaver Award Winners" Archived 2014-03-22 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ The Boston Globe
  4. ^ The Boston Globe[1] by J.M. Lawrence, March 23, 2014
  5. ^ Bloomberg[2] by Laurence Arnold, March 20, 2014
  6. ^ "Press Release - Nobel Laureate Horvitz to Take Helm at Society for Science & the Public; Craig R. Barrett, Patrick J. McGovern, and Joe Palca join Distinguished Board; H. Robert Horvitz Elected Chair", press release, Society for Science & the Public, WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2010
  7. ^ Yardley, William (2014-03-24). "Patrick McGovern Dies at 76; Founded Publishing Empire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  8. ^ "Patrick J. McGovern: 1937-2014", Obituary from the McGovern Institute at MIT.
  9. ^ Miller, Stephen; Ante, Spencer E., "Patrick McGovern Dies at 76: Publisher Helped Define Computer Age and Made World Safe for 'Dummies'", The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2014
  10. ^ Seave, Ava. "Tech Publisher IDG Transforming Itself From Within As It Braces For Sale Or Breakup". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  11. ^ "China Oceanwide Completes Acquisition of IDG • IDG". IDG. Retrieved 2017-07-04.

External linksEdit