BBC Switch to Adobe Not a Trend, Says Quark

2004
Sep
07

Computer Business Review Online interviews Gavin Drake, marketing director of Quark Systems, Ltd., the UK arm of Colorado-based Quark, Inc., maker of would-be InDesign rival, QuarkXPress. Following a series of announcements of high profile publishers and creative organizations switching from QuarkXPress-based publishing and layout systems to Adobe InDesign was last week’s declaration of BBC Magazine’s […]

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Computer Business Review Online interviews Gavin Drake, marketing director of Quark Systems, Ltd., the UK arm of Colorado-based Quark, Inc., maker of would-be InDesign rival, QuarkXPress.

Following a series of announcements of high profile publishers and creative organizations switching from QuarkXPress-based publishing and layout systems to Adobe InDesign was last week’s declaration of BBC Magazine’s migration. After a single issue trial of InDesign on the It’s Hot! Magazine title in March 2003, BBC Magazine announced the switch from Quark to InDesign across its entire line of 40 titles.

Quark, meanwhile, denies the existance or building of a Quark-to-InDesign switching trend.

Says Drake in the Computer Busines Review Online interview:  “There is no question that a small number of customers have or are switching to InDesign for various reasons and we wish them every success in this. However you have to put this in context, which is that this represents a very small percentage of the UK market and is certainly not a trend.”

Highlights from the article:

  • QuarkXPress 6.5, the much touted release that will include QuarkVista, will be a free upgrade to existing Quark 6 users.
  • Drake claims:  “Some customers have told us that they believe the PDF output from QuarkXPress 6 is even better than that of InDesign so it would be untrue to suggest that the PDF support in InDesign is better.”
  • In response to a question regarding Quark’s “allegedly less-than-accommodating attitude towards its customers,” Drake states:  “We are getting closer to our customers to ensure we are developing tools to make them more productive and creative and secondly we are responding to customer feedback. Since Quark appointed a new CEO at the beginning of this year there have been a huge number of changes.”
  • Quark has tripled the number of field staff, including a reported 600% increase in the UK Team.
    Telephone support staffing has been boosted by 30%.
  • Quark, typically-and often perceived as contemptuously-absent from conferences and trade shows, is now attending six times as many such events.
  • QuarkAlliance was relaunched to “enable output providers, training centers, XTensions developers and other partners to work more closely with” Quark.
  • BBC Worldwide publishing systems manager, Julian Adams, discusses some of the reasons for his company’s swith to InDesign-citing increased efficiency with InDesign; better support from Adobe; OS X native support; InDesign’s use of transparency and feathering, and tighter integration between InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
  • Drake insists that Quark has by no means lost the desktop publishing wars, saying that, “QuarkXPress 6 has been the fastest selling upgrade ever for Quark and QuarkXPress sales of both upgrades and full products are extremely strong and increasing.”
  • Neither InDesign nor Quark run on Linux, and an unnamed Adobe spokesperson stated that there are “no imminent plans to launch a Unix or Linux version, but that the company would consider doing so if customers requested such a version.”

Very little of the Computer Business Review Online article is news to InDesign Vs. Quark readers. Interesting, however, is the tone of the article:  Quark is on the defensive. All comparisons noted by Quark-for example, Quark’s Drake insisting that “QuarkXPress 6 has been the fastest selling upgrade ever for Quark and QuarkXPress sales of both upgrades and full products are extremely strong and increasing,” are one-sided. With the exception of the hard to swallow claim that Quark creates better PDFs than InDesign, Drake shys from head-to-head comparisons between his layout application and Adobe’s.

If a marketing director can’t put the applications head-to-head in an interview, how does Quark expect to meet InDesign head-to-head in the market?

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