QuarkXPress: Where Is the Market Going?

Opinion: Since being steamrolled by the launch of Adobe's InDesign, Quark has worked to improve its tool and its reputation.

Conventional wisdom in the technology sector has it that once a software application is in the enviable position of being a market standard, it is practically impossible to get users to move away from that tool, even if a competing product is significantly more powerful.

The hardest thing to change is work habits: We use best what we use most, and the majority of us do not enjoy changing tools. (Migrating whole workgroups from one technology platform to another is one of the more daunting challenges an IT manager can face.)

By that token, Quark Inc. had little to fear when Adobe Systems Inc. announced its decision to launch a page layout program almost five years ago to compete with QuarkXPress.

At that point, Quarks program was very much the Microsoft Office of professional publishing, and even a very powerful competitor would find it hard to change the minds of hundreds of thousands of users around the globe who literally knew QuarkXPress by heart, and mastered every little trick to turn around jobs efficiently.

In other words, Adobe InDesign was facing an uphill battle, and the first release, which came out in fall of 2000, hardly ruffled the surface of the professional publishing world: "Too slow, too immature" was the verdict of many professionals who were intrigued by a massive marketing campaign to launch the program. (Nevertheless, some publishing houses made the jump then and there: Conde Nast UK actually moved its magazine Glamour to InDesign in the first release and has by now converted a significant number of its publications over to Adobes offering.)

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