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Daniel Eran

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photo Is Microsoft Vista the new QuarkXPress? Part II
Quark's Strange Top Down Charm Bottom Up
Even worse, Quark didn't seem to care. They charted out future plans to support Mac OS X in their next major version, indicating users would have to pay for another full version upgrade just to get a native version of Quark with the same features.

That year, Adobe outsold Quark for the first time. Content creators tired of Quark's arrogance stopped to take a look at InDesign and ended up buying it. While Quark was far too entrenched to be knocked out of first place for good, InDesign got serious attention during an upgrade cycle, and Quark felt the pain.

Quark realized they needed to have a Mac OS X native version to sell in a hurry. As a result, they rushed development, and to save costs, they outsourced almost all development work to India. There is no established Mac development base in India, and not much of a Macintosh presence at all. Quark was also outsourcing all their technical support to India.

At the same time Quark dumped their development work in India, Mac OS programming message boards in the US were flooded with junior development questions posted from overseas. It didn't look good for the development of what was supposedly a major new step for Quark.

While on stage next to Steve Jobs, Quark acted sincerely apologetic about not delivering a native version sooner. By the time Quark finally shipped their Mac OS X native QuarkXPress 6.0, Adobe was getting ready to launch its new Creative Suite package, which included the new InDesign 3.0. For many design shops, it was hard to justify buying a new license from Quark, when they already were getting a copy of InDesign with their new Adobe applications.

It didn't help that Quark introduced excessive new licensing voodoo, which involved typing in what was perhaps the longest serial number ever devised. Or that the new call-home license verification system caused problems for anyone who had to reinstall their system. Quark just shoved their customers to call centers in India to get help.

Quark also made it extraordinarily difficult to buy volume licensing with the Quark License Administrator, to the point that some customers gave up and bought fewer single unit copies instead. Both sales and service were astonishingly bad; Quark didn't get it.

It almost appeared that Quark was doing everything they could to fail, just when Adobe was poised to deliver the strongest challenge ever to Quark's dominance of the industry. Quark didn't dry up and blow away, but InDesign got a foot in the door, and Quark felt it in their pocketbook.

Quark's lead was beaten up so severely that, for the first time ever, the company released a significant 6.5 upgrade for free, dual system licensing, and announced major new features for version 7 that will bring it more into parity with InDesign.

Part III > Ready to Fumble

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