graphicpush

Thoughts on branding, design, writing and life by Kevin Potts. Established 2003.

Quark and Macromedia Offer Software Bundle

Quark is realizing that professionals are taking InDesign seriously, and someone in Macromedia finally admitted Illustrator surpassed Freehand in functionality and usability somewhere around Version 8.

In an interesting industry move, Quark and Macromedia have teamed up to offer their print design tools in a bundle. Quark, who only really makes one piece of software, and Macromedia, who also only offers one piece of software to the print design world, packaged Xpress 6 and Freehand MX together for $999.

The reasons should be plain enough. Quark is realizing that professionals are taking InDesign seriously, and someone in Macromedia finally admitted Illustrator surpassed Freehand in functionality and usability somewhere around Version 8.

This is certainly not a last gasp (Quark alone boasts an installed base of over 3 million), but after recent events, one begins to wonder. Quark clearly shot themselves in the foot by stalling with an OSX version, and the most recent offering is getting very lukewarm reviews as designers finally have a serious alternative for comparison. On the flipside of that, Freehand 10 was the first professional design tool for OSX, and although buggy and Flash-centric, made it clear that Macromedia was committed to the new OS. That has been followed by only one questionable upgrade, which completely traded in the old UI for the newer, more complex and ultimately nonuser-friendly MX interface. (Even at the most recent MAX conference, Freehand was almost nonexistent.)

Maybe this is a way for both companies to admit that Adobe is not going away. But this effort at wooing customers back with reduced pricing seems more of a knee-jerk reaction against Adobe’s CS release than a serious effort to reclaim marketshare. Does anybody still use Freehand? Is anybody who upgraded to Quark 6 satisfied with the new version, or do they wonder why they paid hundreds for version 4.1 repackaged with web design features?