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Equity firm buys out publishing software maker Quark

updated 11:50 am EDT, Tue August 9, 2011

Search in progress for new owners

Quark, the developer of QuarkXPress, has been bought out by a private equity firm called Platinum Equity. While the latter is known to specialize in mergers and acquisitions, few other details on the transaction have been made public. What has been disclosed is that Platinum is already working to transition Quark to new ownership.

Who might take control of Quark is unclear. The company is focused exclusively around publishing software; its chief rival is Adobe, which produces competing software such as InDesign and the rest of the Creative Suite. One possible candidate for a new owner is Apple, which could rebrand Quark, or mimic what it did with FileMaker and maintain an illusion that the brand is still separate.

Owning Quark would also allow Apple to reduce its dependence on Adobe, since the Creative Suite is a major draw to the Mac platform, even though more emphasis has been placed on the Windows version in recent years. QuarkXPress 9 is furthermore designed with publishing to the iPad and other tablets as a central feature, which would allow Apple to market a standard tool for the App Store and iOS 5's Newsstand. Quark advertises that no programming skills are needed for its iPad app tools.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. stainless

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Thank Gosh...

    QuarkXpress is great software but the Management was c***! Maybe the new management company can get some focus on HTML5!!! Further to this, create a piece of software that you purchase once and allowed to publish to iOS withOUT additional fees, minus the required Apple store fees. YOU MAKE MONEY IN VOLUME, NOT GREED!!!

  1. BigMac2

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Dec 2000


    Quark has never recovered

    From their Quark 5 mistake when they fired all their software engineer in their homeland to open a division in india with cheaper software developer and much cheaper service call centre. Quark 5 was a failure in every aspect and they never recover from it and Quark never get back its stability of Quark 4.3

  1. donmontalvo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2009


    Quark never had a chance

    When Tim Gill left Quark, the company turned into a cash cow for a bunch of milk men. What was once a passion driven company turned into McDonalds. I agree with BigMac2. Outsourcing to save money is fine if you don't lower the competency level. I think Quark picked the wrong company to handle their development. Years of bug reporting and feature requests never (NEVER EVER) resulted in a fix or enhancement. So as far as I'm concerned, QuarkXPress can whither and die.


    Don Montalvo, TX

  1. JayNelson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2011


    Not quite right...

    I think this story is a little bit off... Platinum Equity has no intention of "finding a new owner." They ARE the new owner, and will grow the company with their vast resources. For a bit more info and insight into this acquisition, have a look at my story at

  1. David Esrati

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 1999


    Had it coming

    When they forced users to "upgrade" Quark 3 when moving to the original PPC- for $300 with no new features or capabilities- the writing was on the wall.
    We kept a license or two through 5- but, never felt a need to use Quark (or missed it) once InDesign hit 2.0.
    I remember watching a presentation by Quark at a Mac show in Cincinnati- after Terry White had done an amazing presentation on InDesign- with all his files in place- building and demoing a beautiful project. The quark guy opened a blank document- and started talking about something lame-
    you knew then that Quark was history- except for companies that had already bought into the kool aid.

  1. jreades

    Junior Member

    Joined: Feb 1999


    BigMac2, OS X, Quark

    Sorry there BigMac2, I mean to up-vote you but clicked the wrong button and it wouldn't let me 'undo'. Quark 4 was a great piece of software and lined up against InDesign 1.x there was no contest. But as I got more used to OS X and InDesign advanced by leaps and bounds while Quark consistently failed to bring out *anything* native (or even anything that had useful features) I stopped caring and committed myself to Adobe. Quark's attitude appeared to be "Well we are what every print shop uses so we're safe for now. We just need another couple of years to port our code." Er, no, not when I can write straight to high-res, colour-separated PDF and send *that* instead. Whenever I see these articles I have a moment of surprise "Oh wait, you mean Quark is still around?"

    These days the people who remind me most of Quark are ESRI for ArcGIS. Only runs on one platform. Huge amount of legacy code. Clunky source file management. Sudden changes in the way something works that doesn't appear to appreciably improve usability, while obvious needs go MIA indefinitely. Oh, and a pricing model that would put Quark to shame.

  1. PRoth

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008


    I would laugh my A55 off...

    ... if it was Apple that bought Quark. There would be no side to THAT story that wouldn't be funny.

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