QuarkXPress 6: Too Little, Too Late

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Date: Tuesday, July 8th, 2003, 22:04
Category: Software

The longest Mac OS 9 hold out, QuarkXPress, is finally ready for the big leagues of Unix with their announcement of version 6 on 10 June 2003. (Aside: for some background on the new pagination application check out the excellent review on CreativePro.com.)


The longest Mac OS 9 hold out, QuarkXPress, is finally ready for the big leagues of Unix with their announcement of version 6 on 10 June 2003. (Aside: for some background on the new pagination application check out the excellent review on CreativePro.com.)
It should come as no surprise that Quark has undoubtedly been one of the biggest thorns in Steve Jobs’ side over the past two years. Since the announcement of OS X, Quark and company have been dragging their feet in coming out with a carbon version of their industry standard layout software. As a result, most of the professional publishing community has been deferring the adoption of Mac OS X until their main application (QXP) would run on it. Since they were deferring on OS X many also deferred on buy new Macintosh hardware. Thorn and double thorn.
So Apple came up with a plan: provide free developers to Quark to help finish programming their OS X version. Everyone will buy it, upgrade to OS X and upgrade their hardware too. Brilliant plan, right?
I have a conspiracy theory about why QuarkXPress 6 is Mac OS X only. It seems a tad extreme, doesn’t it? Why would the company that has forced its users to stay with crash-happy Mac OS 9 for so long all of a sudden dictate that they must move to OS X? Wouldn’t they sell many more copies of QXP6 if it were available for OS 9 and X? Certainly.
My theory is that Quark did a deal with Apple in exchange for their previously mentioned development help in completing the OS X version. Steve probably told Quark he would help them for free if they did not release an OS 9 version. Apple probably threw in some marketing assistance too. Remember the huge Quark 6 graphic that was on Apple’s front page for a week? Hmmm……
Don’t get me started on Quark. They have enjoyed a certain incumbency for far too long while battering and bruising their customer base over the years. Their track record with support and updates is abysmal. CEO Fred Ebrahimi’s executive briefing statements that “publishing is dying” and to “switch to something else” if they weren’t happy with Quark was probably the last straw for many.
Sure Quark used to be king, but they lost me a long time ago. Adobe InDesign is far superior and the only choice for users that have a choice in publishing software. The next few months should prove interesting for Quark. Will people flock to version 6 now that it runs natively on OS X? Or will the notoriously conservative publishing industry wait for months while bugs get worked out and the XTension developers catch up? Only time will tell.

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