Quark Decides It’s Better to Join ‘Em Than Beat Them

October 27th, 2008

Today Quark made a significant announcement:

“…Quark announced groundbreaking innovation in automated workflow publishing by extending the capabilities of Quark Publishing System 8 (QPS 8) to include support for both QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. QPS users now have the flexibility to use QuarkXPress with QuarkCopyDesk and Adobe InDesign with Adobe InCopy at the component level in a single workflow system. The capability to use both — or either — graphic design and page-layout program with QPS enables customers to streamline their publishing process to save time and reduce administration, training, and hardware costs.

“…We surveyed magazine and newspaper publishers, advertising agencies, and marketing groups and asked them what their most significant needs are for collaborative publishing today, said Linda Chase, General Manager for Quark Publishing System.The majority of respondents indicated they need to support both QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign in their environments and would welcome a workflow system that does not dictate which page-layout and design application they use.

“Now, with QPS XTensions for Adobe InDesign, a customer’s choice for QPS gives them the flexibility to use both QuarkXPress and InDesign in one workflow system.”

As everyone who has been following the QuarkXPress versus Adobe InDesign battle knows, Quark spent probably too long on the high ground, assuming or deluding itself into a continued belief that it could actually win the battle. Over the last two releases of QuarkXPress the company has been seeking to essentially emulate the approach in Adobe’s Creative Suite, making it possible for many of its customers to incorporate Adobe technologies directly into Quark technologies, including Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. And now the flagship product itself!

There is much speculation over how much market share Quark has lost during this protracted battle. Most analysts I speak to believe it is substantial, but haven’t got any numbers. A Google search provides no useful current data. I wrote today to press representatives at each company to see what their public position was on the subject.

Adobe’s response was terse: “Unfortunately, Adobe does not provide market share numbers.”

Quark’s was verbose, but not more informative: “Quark is committed to delivering continued innovation in desktop publishing software, and QuarkXPress 8 clearly shows this. It has been incredibly well received in numerous reviews and by customers, and we believe that healthy competition will continue to drive even more innovation to help designers push their creativity further.

“What’s more, not only have we listened and responded to customers who want to use both leading page-layout applications, Quark is helping customers output and deliver creative content to other channels through Quark Dynamic Publishing Solution, raising the bar for publishing solutions.”

I believe that Quark is following the correct approach by seeking to join ’em. Let’s see what Adobe does next.