End of an era – Quark sold

Quark obituary and a personal perspective/retrospective

If you have background in publishing that spans more than a few years, you would have used or seen QuarkXpress.
Quark – the maker of QuarkXpress has been around since the early 80’s.
I started using QuarkXpress at version 3 in 1993 whilst working for a PrePress house in Leichardt.
At the time, there was QuarkXpress, PageMaker (which was greeted with distain in Graphic Reproduction) and proprietary systems like Scitex.
After working in the “trade, followed running the TAFE School of Graphic Arts computer labs and teaching, I landed a job at Mitsui Computers as the lead QuarkXpress tech support for Apple systems. Funny thing was, for a distributor involved heavily in graphic arts, I was the only person with a trade background!
I manned the phones during the transition to version 4 which coincided with changing the codebase from Mac Development and porting to Windows to dual development using common code base.
Boy was It was BUGGY!!
Quark did eventually fix most of the bugs then went to release the disaster that was QuarkXpress 5 in 1992 with no OS X support (which had been released the previous year)
Quark died that year (although it took a decade to realise it).
I think the several things killed QuarkXpress.
Dealing with Quark as a company had always been difficult as an end user and working with the company was incredibly frustrating.
Site licensing, education sales in groups of 10 with dongles, bizarre support and proof of ownership requirements led to a LOT of user hostility.
The head of Quark – Fred Ebrahimi exclaimed that “the Macintosh platform is shrinking,” and suggested that anyone dissatisfied with Quark’s Mac commitment should “switch to something else.” That did not win a lot of friends!
Adobe (who had offices in Australia – not just a distributor) were sending technicians into publishing houses like ACP, Fairfax and Pacific Publications to help them migrate away from QuarkXpress with huge discounts was the final straw.

Incidentally, when Mitsui Computer closed down, myself and another technician Nick Stathis made a play to become the distributor for in Australia.
We even had a conference call with Fred Ebrahimi and taking on the distribution.
It looked like we would get it and at the last minute, Cyrosh Ebrahimi – nephew of the CEO, decided he needed some sun and took on the distribution via Elite Software.

I started Desktop Revolution Consulting in 1998 and at the time had 2 users on InDesign.
Fast forward 13 years and I have only 2 clients using QuarkXpress!

Comment and let us know what you liked or hated about Quark – their software or the company (or even dealing with support people like me!)