The Battle for Page Layout Domination
The saturated, unsexy world of page layout software has enjoyed quite a bit of buzz as of late thanks to the releases of Adobe InDesign 2.0 and QuarkXPress 5.0. With the former trying to grab some of the latter's market share, the most interesting battle to watch within the war is both companies' respective product "spins."
Adobe (www.adobe.com) is clearly very aware of the entrenchment Quark (www.quark.com) enjoys in the market, so the company is looking to leverage the interoperable relationship between InDesign 2.0 and popular Adobe products such as PhotoShop, Illustrator and Acrobat.
Although Quark has spawned myriad XTension manufacturers, the company no doubt realizes it cannot compete on the field of true interoperability. Consequently, Quark is touting the cross-media capabilities of its XPress 5.0.
These marketing positions are certainly not all inclusive, nor mutually exclusive, of the many useful features both programs offer; they are merely indicative of the type of user that Quark and Adobe are attempting to target. After all, it is the users who will decide the ultimate winner in this turf war. And as the best software does not always win, marketing campaigns and positioning are extremely important weapons.
In promoting the interoperability between InDesign 2.0, PhotoShop, Illustrator and PDF, Adobe is setting itself up to be the layout program of choice for designers. "Integration is a key area. When I go to universities or when I work with teachers to train them, they say, 'this is just like Illustrator,'" reports Maria Yap, InDesign's product manager. "The tools are the same, it doesn't matter which application [the user] is in. I tell them to think about Illustrator and PhotoShop when they use InDesign and the light bulb goes off."
By building version 2.0 to look and feel like its other products, Adobe is hoping that graphic designers who are partial to Illustrator and PhotoShop will see the transition to InDesign 2.0 as a natural one. Yap admits that users may need more than features to convince them to choose InDesign 2.0: "The number one thing is giving features to compel [users] to change. It's hard to change over, but if [designers] notice that one is better and integrates with existing products" they may be more likely to switch.