June 10, 2003 2:48 PM PDT

Quark makes way for Mac OS X

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CUPERTINO, Calif.--Quark says a long-awaited version of its publishing software will ship next week, removing a major hurdle that's prevented some businesses from upgrading to Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating system.

QuarkXPress, considered the biggest laggard among key Macintosh programs, will make the jump to OS X compatibility with version 6, which will sell for $999 for new customers and $199 for registered owners of version 5. A Windows version of QuarkXPress 6 also was announced but will become available soon after the OS X version.

Apple is also taking advance orders at its online store, selling the Mac version for $899.

The move is a potential boost to Apple Power Mac sales, which have been slow despite the fact that more than 6,000 applications run on OS X.

"That hasn't mattered to a whole set of customers" who have been missing that one application, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told a crowd of graphics professionals at an event here in Apple's Town Hall meeting room. "We've been waiting for this moment for some time."

Tuesday's event also marked a public reconciliation of the two companies. Jobs embraced Quark CEO Fred Ebrahimi, something Quark executives say has not happened for some time.

"It's sort of rekindled what was once a great relationship," Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller said in an interview.

Ebrahimi admits that he, like many, was reluctant when Apple first made the shift to Mac OS X. "Maybe that explains why we were so late," he said, pledging that the two companies would work more closely in the future.

The new QuarkXPress requires version 10.2 of OS X or later, although a few features actually require later versions of the Mac operating system. On the Windows side, the program requires either Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

Barbara Null, of card maker Hallmark, said the move will allow her company to migrate its 2,000 Macs fully to OS X. The company had been working on transition plans for some time, Null said, but "there was one really important piece missing."

The biggest competition for Quark has been Adobe Systems' InDesign, which has been available in an OS X version for more than a year. Will Eisley, Adobe's senior product manager for InDesign, said he welcomed Quark's arrival in the OS X camp.

"We'd like to encourage customers to compare," he said. "From the feature set we've seen released, we think the comparison is very favorable for InDesign."

News.com's David Becker contributed to this report.

 

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