28 August 2007

[design] A Reminder of Who QuarkXPress 7's True Competition Is

925. Alerted by Google to a posting on a discussion board is this discussion, about a publication moving from QuarkXPress to Adobe InDesign.

It's notable for this bit of insight:

Just made the switch from Quark 4 to InDesign CS3 today

In the context, it's not so important to note to what the publication swtiched to (though Adobe, I'll bet, is thrilled) but what the publication swtiched from.

QuarkXPress, yes; specifically,QuarkXPress 4. Not 5, 6, or even 7. QuarkXPress release 4. Relased in 1997.

One thing that has become clear to those of us who care about the epic struggle between QuarkXPress and InDesign for electronic layout king is that QuarkXPress 7's toughest competitor, ironically, isn't InDesign at all. It's QuarkXPress 4.

Back in 1997, Quark, Inc. had banished PageMaker to the shadows of small offices and club newsletters and was The Game In Town. Everyone used XPress and it garnered a lot of fans. People used–and loved–XPress 4.

Then, once it had the heights, on the seventh day...Quark rested. The next major upgrade wasn't for three years, with QuarkXPress 5 (not native for OS X when InDesign version 2 was), which was recieved with a collective "meh" from the design community at large. It wasn't until 2004 when XPress was finally ready for OS X prime-time, and improvements have come pretty fast since then, but Quark has lost a lot of fans in the meantime.

How do I know that? I have no access to sales figures and Quark's knowledge about how its flagship is sailing (Pariah Burke's excellent Quark Insider article at Quark vs InDesign is the place you want to go to read up on the state of play, and a follow-up here.) But I do know that, based on the ad mailings I recieved and the things I hear out and about, the question always seems to be not "should we swtich from QuarkXPress 7 to InDesign" but "should we upgrade to Quark 7 from Quark 4?"

Factor that into your apparasals of how the competition between Quark and Adobe is going. It explains at least a few things I can think of, and probably a few things you can think of.


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