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Quark keeps OS X waiting

The software publisher releases a new version of its market-leading QuarkXPress page layout application, but support for Apple's new OS is still in the works.

Software publisher Quark has released a new version of its market-leading QuarkXPress page layout application, but support for Apple Computer's Mac OS X operating system is still in the works.

Privately held Quark announced the release of version 5.0 of QuarkXPress, used by graphics professionals to design pages for print and online publications. The new version, announced Wednesday, includes a number of new features, including support for XML Web services. But it is not written to take advantage of the new features in OS X.

Mac users with the new operating system must instead run the application in the system's "classic mode," which supports software for older versions of the Mac OS. A Quark representative said an OS X version of QuarkXPress is in the works but said he could not provide a release date.

Earlier this week, rival Adobe Systems released a new version of its layout software, InDesign. Version 2.0 of InDesign includes an edition tailored for OS X.

Technology Business Research analyst Tim Deal said Mac support is crucial for graphics applications, one of Apple's strongest markets.

"QuarkXPress and Mac go hand in hand," he said. "The fact they're not supporting OS X yet I think is significant. There are many Mac users waiting for an OS X version of that application. I think they've waited too long already."

Deal said Adobe's lead in OS X support was unlikely to prompt many people to switch from QuarkXPress because both applications are complex and require much time to master. Instead, he said, Quark users are likely to wait for the version that does support OS X.

"I think it will delay adoption of this new version of Quark," he said. "They'll just keep using the version they have."