On one hand I'm surprised, as you always are, an on another I'm not. Let me note that I'm a contributing editor at InfoWorld, which means that I write for them, but I have no inside knowledge Heaven knows I wasn't consulted on this. Even so, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see a business where more and more of the revenue comes from the online side shut down the expensive business of manipulating and shipping atoms around.
Nevertheless, this will change the InfoWorld audience and limit some opportunities to reach out to different groups. When I was Utah's CIO, InfoWorld just showed up and was on my desk. Occasionally I'd pick it up and read it. It quickly became one I sought out to read because of the focus of the articles on issues I cared about and the quality of the writing. That kind of interaction is different in the online world. You have to convert search-engine drive-bys into readers.
Steve Fox, InfoWorld's Editor-in-Chief has said that very few layoffs will occur since most people will simply work on the online version or the events side of the business (a big focus lately). I suspect those let go will be people who's expertise is in Quark and other "print-only" skills.
While I'm sad about the demise of a print publication I'd come to love. I am interested to see how this experiment works out. C|net, has shown that online only can be a good model. I've worked closely with many of these folks over the last 4 years and come to respect them very much. They're smart and committed. I'm sure they'll do well in the new venture. I wish all my InfoWorld friends good luck!
Bonus links: See Tim O'Reilly's post about the problems at the San Francisco Chronicle and Dave Winer's followup. Newspapers are going to have a much tougher time with this kind of transition than companies like InfoWorld who have been moving more and more of their revenue stream online for years.