The first version of QuarkXPress was released in 1987 for the Macintosh. A Microsoft Windows version (3.1) followed in 1992. In the 1990s, QuarkXPress quickly became widely used by professional page designers, the typesetting industry and printers. In particular, the Mac version of 3.3 (released in 1996) was seen as stable and trouble-free, working seamlessly with Adobe’s PostScript fonts as well as with Apple’s TrueType fonts.
Early on, QuarkXPress incorporated an application programming interface called XTensions which allows third-party developers to create custom add-on features to the desktop application. Introduced in 1989, Xtensions, along with Apple Computer’s HyperCard, were among the first examples of a developer allowing others to create software add-ons for their application.
After having released QuarkXPress 3.3, QuarkXPress was seen as needing significant improvements and users criticized it for its overly long innovation cycles.
The release of QuarkXPress version 5 in 2002 led to a conflict with Apple’s user base, as QuarkXPress did not support Mac OS X, while InDesign 2.0, launched in the same week, did. Only with Version 6 QuarkXPress support Mac OS X, however the first really adopted version was QuarkXPress 7 (which was also a Universal Binary application).
Quark started to lower its pricing levels in 2004. In December 2006, Quark licensed the Windows version of QuarkXPress 5 to be distributed free of charge on the cover of a UK computer magazine, Computer Shopper, with the idea of enticing consumers to upgrade to later versions.
Having arrived late with a Mac OS X version, Quark took a different approach to porting to Intel-native applications on Mac (Universal Binary), and released its Universal Binary version 10 months before Adobe ported InDesign.
With QuarkXPress 8 and 9 the product seems to listen more to its user base, as reviews worldwide became more positive and several Mac magazines gave awards to QuarkXPress, even best product of the year (MacWorld Awards 2011: Grand Prix Winner).