Desktop publishing software maker Quark has been acquired by Platinum Equity for an undisclosed sum. The Denver, Colorado-based vendor, whose most popular product was QuarkXpress back in the mid-'90s, was bought by the Ebrahimi family in 2000 from the company's founder Tim Gill, according to MacWorld. In contrast to recent …
...People still use QuarkXPress?
No thanks ...
I'll stick with 3B2.
Disregarding the "fan boys" did it for them
In 2002 Quark CEO Fred Ebrahimi declared that "publishing is dying" and suggested that those who were unhappy with Quark's then failure to update Xpress to run on OS X "switch to something else".
Meanwhile, Adobe had updated InDesign to OS X and declared that publishing was just breaking out of its print niche, shortly announcing the Creative Suite to tie print and digital tools together into a convincing package (well, compared to the competition).
I can't find a graph of market share for InDesign vs XPress since the launch of OS X, but I'm pretty confident I can guess what it looks like. My assessment would be that Ebrahimi did a Ratner.
"My assessment would be that Ebrahimi did a Ratner." You're far too kind.
Fred the shred
It was actually worse than that.
Ebrahimi was an arrogant and egotistical oaf who thought he could treat his customers like total sh*t and get away with it. The product was always way overpriced but at the same time buggy and their customer service was appalling. Updating to a new version was a total nightmare. The long absence of an OSX native version was inexcusable.
Quark just didn't deserve to be successful and eventually when Adobe brought out InDesign the market finally put two fingers up to them, even though in the early days InDesign had more promise than actual delivery.
As an aside I remember once going to Fred's house outside Denver which was extremely tasteless and in the form of a mini castle. That's where all the company profits went to.
Tim Gill, on the other hand, was an incredibly decent guy who foolishly left all the commercial side to Fred.
I wouldn't use Quirk if you paid me
I was a Quirk user for years upon years. I saw the same bugs in v2, v3, and v4, still unfixed. I could cause Quirk to crash any time I wanted to, by merely performing a set sequence of keystrokes involving printing, and it worked with any printer, and it worked despite the fact that Quirk changed the basic printing system with v4. Quirk swore up and down that it was an Apple bug... except that during that time I moved from System 7 to OS 9, and no other app had behaviour even close to that of Quirk. The problem was, apparently, fixed with v5, but by that time I had first PageMaker and then InDesign installed and I never went back to Quirk and I never will. InDesign cost less, it was faster than Quirk, and it didn't bloody crash all the time. By the time OS X came around I couldn't have cared less what Quirk did. And, in any case, Adobe released an OS X-compatible version of InDesign at the same time as Quirk kicked the OS X-ignoring v5 out the door, pretty much sealing its fate so far as I was concerned. Quirk was then, and probably still is, infested with clueless head-up-arse windbags. Think about it: they make Adobe look good!
If you want infuriatingly opaque...
...then look no further than scripting QuarkXPress. Oh, dear, what a nightmare that was. Mind you, it was not impossible; I knew a fellow who wrote an automatic catalogue-creator for the office-supplies company Staples, and he made a dandy profit (after most definitely earning his paycheque on the first one).
But James, I am afraid I have no idea what printing bug you’re referring to, and I used XPress HARD — pushed it further than just about anyone was capable of, in the early days. It was quite a nice piece of software back then.
But Quark Inc. were always douchenozzles.
For a lot of months Quark 4 had the problems of -
1) only printing in portrait format on film in an imagesetter, thus using far more film than required and reducing the printers margins by a lot.
2) in a standard 4-colour separation onto film it would 'forget' a graphic in one colour. Next time you printed it would be a different colour layer or a different graphic. Wasted a HUGE amount of film, chemicals and time.
3) during this time Quark denied that the problem lay with them. Funny how an update (4.0.3 IIRC) fixed it.
Everyone was gagging for Adobe to get K2 (as it was known then) out the door. V.1 was crap but V.2 was enough to convince a lot of people.
Quark bringing out V.5 (non Mac OS X compatible) was the thing that convinced the rest.
Just a small word of kindness
I have to agree with all the above assessments of Quark the company, up until very recently. Every aspect was customer-unfriendly (one story: I taught it on the college level, which required dongles. Needless to say, kids would occasionally walk off with them. You could not buy one replacement — you had to buy a bag of 50!)
But with the advent of InDesign eating their lunch (and dinner), the have shaped up Quark the application, and it is now quite capable, doing interactive and web as well as print, and works well if a tad quirkily. Even the people are nicer.
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