It’s always entertaining to read about the corporate decisions which lost former industry leading products their place in the sun. Quark used to have a 95% market share.
Anecdotal evidence is not the best way to objectively study anything, but ask anyone what caused them to leave XPress for InDesign. Overwhelmingly, it all boils down to those personal stories of neglect that eventually eroded Quark’s appeal and made a potentially painful transfer to another product the lesser of the evils.
In 2001, Apple released OS X, which felt dog slow on existing hardware. Despite its inclusion of crucial publishing tech like AppleScript and ColorSync, it was definitely not production-ready. But OS 9â€™s failings are well documentedâ€”a bad font in an ad could literally cost you a third of your day dealing with system crashes. OS Xâ€™s single promise of Unix-like stability turned its other short-term problems with snappiness into non-issues.
Quark repeatedly failed to make OS X-native versions of XPressâ€”spanning versions 4.1, 5, and 6â€”but the company still asked for plenty of loot for the upgrades. With user frustration high with 2002â€™s Quark 5, CEO Fred Ebrahimi salted the wounds by taunting users to switch to Windows if they didnâ€™t like it, saying, â€œThe Macintosh platform is shrinking.” Ebrahimi suggested that anyone dissatisfied with Quark’s Mac commitment should “switch to something else.”
It’s advice people apparently tookâ€”just not the way he meant it. It was likely that Quark saw increasing growth in Windows sales as a sign that the Mac publishing market was dwindling. However, what they were probably seeing was new users, not migration to Windows. I’ve heard about Windows-based publishing environments, but I’ve never actually seen one in my 20+ years in design and publishing.
Perhaps this seems like an overstatement, but desktop publishing was invented on the Mac. It would have been hard to find people more rabidly pro-Mac than people who were basically keeping pre-Jobs Apple afloat. So when a revitalized Apple needed all the help it could get, telling Mac designers to switch to Windows was all the excuse these creatives needed to think that the grass was actually greener on the InDesign side. Simply put, this was a crucial nudge for many.
Read the whole thing.