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The first version was released in 1987. XTensions technology, which allows developers to create custom software add-ons for Quark products, was also introduced in 1987. QuarkXPress Passport is QuarkXPress with the added ability to handle multiple language documents.
Although there are similar applications for the home and small office market, such as Adobe PageMaker and Microsoft Publisher, QuarkXPress has long been the dominant application for professional design of magazines and brochures. Adobe InDesign, launched as a direct competitor, was slow to gather speed, but outsold QuarkXPress in 2002 (a year when Quark did not ship a new version). However, even if this trend continues, Quark's much larger installed user base would take years to erode. According to Merrill Lynch in 2004, QuarkXPress' market share was still eight times that of InDesign.
For much of its history, Quark had a history of doing relatively infrequent new versions, and pricing them at a high level. This, combined with public perception of former CEO Ebrahimi's attitude towards the company's customers, has resulted in a strong negative feeling among many of Quark's customers, which seems to be enhancing competitor Adobe Systems' ability to woo people to try their competing software, Adobe InDesign. Recent new versions of QuarkXPress have emphasized web development features almost as much as print publishing, which has frustrated some of Quark's traditional print users seeking feature parity with InDesign.
Current CEO Kamar Aulakh has stated that customer service improvements are his number one priority, and version 6 introduced innovative features not available in competing layout applications for the first time in several years (as well as finally supporting Mac OS X): consequently Quark announced that QuarkXPress 6 was their fastest selling upgrade ever.
Since version 6.0 QuarkXPress offers layout synchronisation. multiple undo/redo functionality, enhancements to the table, XML and web page features and support for direct PDF output. Quark has said that it will not support advanced layout features of OpenType before version 7 and also Unicode will be supported only in QuarkXPress version 7. At the end of 2004, however, Quark surprised the industry by releasing a free 6.5 upgrade which saw them taking a lead in support for the Photoshop format and positioned them as the only layout tool with true integrated image editing functionality. This led to Quark receiving a number of awards, such as the MacWorld Editor's Choice for 2004.
New versions of the software introduced new file formats. However, in order to retain compatibility QuarkXPress 5 can save in 5 or 4 format, QuarkXPress 6 can save in 6 and 5 format and both QuarkXPress 5 and 6 can open QuarkXPress 3, 4, and 5 documents. Obviously, only QuarkXPress 6 can open version 6 documents. This creates a number of problems for users trying to maintain compatibility with each other and is holding back the upgrade process since a large share of users still use QuarkXPress 4.11. Adobe InDesign, despite being even more restrictive in this respect, lacks the large install base for this to be a significant factor.
Comparisons with InDesign can be found here:
QuarkXPress 6 is available for Mac OS X v10.2 and higher, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.
- QuarkXPress 1 (1987)
- QuarkXPress 2 (1989)
- QuarkXPress 3 (1990)
- QuarkXPress 3.1 (1992)
- QuarkXPress 4 (1997)
- QuarkXPress 5 (2002)
- QuarkXPress 6 (2003)
- QuarkXPress 6.5 (2004)
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