Would I be a fool to...
Take on QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign? These companies seem to be big and smart.
Actually I'd probably be on the same level with MS Publisher to start...
Yes, you would.
Yes you would be a fool. How would you get publishers to switch to you product? These guys are fiercely devoted to one product and swear by the thing. IMO you'd be better off drinking swamp water.
You could try to develop a freeware thing for small fanzines. Once you have some users, start working on YourProduct Pro.
Really not a clue
Best thing here is try to develop an add-on to the product. Competing against big companies is not wise. If you cannot beat them, why not join them.
You'll want to take a look at the offerings from Serif Software. They make packages designed to do the same thing. They get their market by selling them for significantly less. They are, in fact, very popular with small publishers who don't have the dough for their larger brethren. I've used PagePlus and it's pretty good. I do have to confess though that I'm not a graphics designer, so I can't evaluate it compared to the others.
Considering InDesign took something like 7 years to develop, I doubt you have the resources to do it.
christopher baus (www.baus.net)
Ask these guys http://www.jasc.com/ they took on Photoshop.
You can compete, but not head on. If you make a product that is a clone of photoshop you'll lose. But if you identify a market segment that's not well served by photoshop and make an application that's well suited for it, you can make out ok. Ideally it would be a vertical segment that's not just segmented by price. Eg. I'll make it cheaper and then I can sell it to students. Perhaps the segment is price sensitive, but it should also have some unique charateristics that will keep the big guys from just competing with you by offereing discounts.
Not only are these companies big, but the products are of a very high quality. It might be different if you were talking about something that totally sucks and the market was dying for a better way.
Look to gets users to switch you need any two of these three things
I will mostly only echo earlier advice. However I would offer one alternative to cheap pricing, and that is niche marketting. If you can find a large enough niche segment to which you can sell tailored software you may be able to find an 'in'.
Yeah, if you can build your program as an 'app of the future', i.e. inside a web browser window, then you'll blow your competition away and they won't be able to adjust and/or compete with you, because 'the web is the future'.
'the web is the future' ?
I second the recommendation for Serif. I use it to run a small twice-monthly 20-page newspaper and love it; its only weakness lies with advanced color seperation work (don't know that it supports trapping, for example, and the Pantone matching I'll guess isn't up to Adobe's standards) but as we print in single-color it's a non-issue.
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