By March 1987, less than two years from launch, PageMaker's annual sales had reached $18.4m - an increase of 100% over the previous year, according to Funding Universe.
PageMaker versus QuarkXPress
But good things don't last forever, and eventually PageMaker lost a lot of its sales to QuarkXPress, which launched in 1987, undercut its high-end rivals and by the late 1990s had captured the professional market. In 1999 Forbes reported that at one point 87% of the 18,000 magazines published in the US were being laid out using XPress (including Forbes itself).
Adobe and Aldus merged in 1994, retained the Adobe brand and transitioned products away from the Aldus moniker. It was a very logical pairing when you consider that PageMaker was conceived to take advantage of the graphics capabilities of an Apple laser printer, which in turn were served up by an Adobe-coded control language.
Quark was going from strength to strength at the time of the merger, and four years later - in summer 1998 - Quark Chief Executive Fred Ebrahimi, in Forbes' words, 'announced his intention to buy Adobe Systems of San Jose a public company with three times Quark's revenues'.
Quark versus InDesign
Of course, the acquisition didn't go ahead, and what followed is now a familiar story. Adobe was already working on InDesign under the codename K2, using code that had come across with the Aldus merger. InDesign shipped in 1999 and after a few years of that and PageMaker running side by side, the latter was retired.
PageMaker's last major release was version 7, which shipped in 2001 and ran on both Windows and OS 9 or OS X, although only in Classic mode on the latter. It's no doubt still in use on some computers and lives on in the shape of the archived pages on Adobe's site here.
InDesign was out in the wild by then and Adobe was keen to push users down a more professional path. We think that's a shame as there's still space in the market for a tool like PageMaker to act as an entry ramp to InDesign further down the line.
Business users may now turn to Pages, with its accomplished layout tools and help from dynamic guides, but a fully-fledged consumer and small business-friendly tool like PageMaker would still find a home in many an open-plan workspace.
Tune in next time for more Apple history.
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