SherimcleishBy Sheri McLeish

Quark, Inc. has been undergoing a major strategic overhaul in the past two years. With its acquisition this month of In.Vision, the leading add-in to Microsoft Word for XML authoring, it appears poised to be taken seriously for enterprises wanting to empower their business units and be able to reuse content dynamically through a variety of channels.

Once the leading desktop publishing solution, Quark’s star fell hard and fast as Adobe shattered its dominance with InDesign and its leading Creative Suite of products. In 2000, Quark’s founder Tim Gill sold off his stake in the private company, and in subsequent dark years Quark looked to gain its footing in a dramatically changing publishing world. Off the radar and nearly forgotten, in 2006 Raymond Schiavone was brought in to serve as president and CEO. Schiavone, the former president and CEO of Arbortext, Inc. (which was acquired by PTC), brought to Quark a wealth of experience in XML-based authoring and publishing products – and a vision for a reinvented Quark.  He also brought his former colleagues over. Today’s Quark executive team includes a CIO, Sr. VP of Corporate Marketing, and two Sr. VPs of Sales that did stints at Arbortext.

Always taken to task for its poor support and spotty integration capabilities, Quark has been trying to pull its support act together and opened up its platform and partnership approach. One of these strategic partners was In.Vision, a Microsoft Office Solution Builder grand prize winner. In.Vision’s Xpress Author for Microsoft Word provided Quark with an easy-to-use authoring tool with XML capabilities. But Quark wants to bulk up and was hungry for more than a partnership. By purchasing the assets of In.Vision, Quark not only gains a leading XML authoring tool and related technologies, but a growing client base and existing partnerships and alliances.

While Quark’s move won’t send the competition scrambling (some may even be surprised it is still around), it is another step on the path toward providing a true solution for professional design and simplified XML authoring capabilities in a single integrated system. Quark’s Dynamic Publishing Solution, combined with XML authoring and design, provide a system that will be of interest to content-heavy business units like marketing and sales. Of course, the catch here is that the integration isn’t entirely seamless – yet. But given its recent measures to reinvent itself, Quark’s pulse is quickening, and there is more than a glimmer of hope for a dynamic comeback.

To learn more about Forrester’s take on dynamic publishing, please read "Drive Forward With Dynamic Publishing."