Aldus Corporation. Part three, “Mutiny”

Despite the Herculean efforts of diversification, PageMaker , in 1988 and 1989 continued to bring the company more than 60% of revenue. PageMaker sales continued to grow.

But the world has changed. Very soon, word processors began to appear the function, before seen only in professional publishing programs. Competition in the once quiet corners of the market was aggravated. Time was getting richer and more interesting.


In 1988 he released a new version of the main headaches of Aldus Corporation. PageMaker 3.0 for Macs was released in April, and compared to the previous version, the new went up by $ 100, to 595. In may came PageMaker 3.0 for Windows. Also more expensive, for the same $ 100, to 795. “Pisishnaya” demanded PageMaker for Windows 2.0. About what the third generation of labourers are pages different from the previous, nothing particularly interesting, alas, I can not tell.

Later in the same year they released 3.0.1 PageMaker – for the operating system from IBM, in the jargon of Russian developers called “radius”. Nothing offensive, not meant that the system was good, just its official name was OS/2. “Russian literature” – “OS two”. There was another slang version – “OS in half”.

If not not really fair Microsoft for which the loss of sole control over the market for operating systems for the IBM PC was deadly, OS/2 could live up to and maybe become what later became Windows. As of 1988 OS/2 was cleaner, richer functionality and General…

But Microsoft can understand. A matter of life and death, not to sentimentality. For IBM, this project was just another, and not the most important.

From PageMaker 3.0 for the Mac and Windows version for OS/2 is different from the massive use of multithreading, which significantly increased visible performance improvements, creating the illusion of high performance. As you know, to be and to seem the most important thing for a buyer is the second. Even literate in their difficult region professional.


The product line expansion was the priority objective of the company, and it has continued successfully. In 1988, individual developer (freelancer, as we would say today) Peter Polash the company acquired the rights to the presentations Persuasion. It is an ancient ancestor of MS PowerPoint and Apple Keynote.

Magic Persuasion knew less than his descendants, but the program is “weighed” a hundred times easier, a whole set will fit on multiple diskettes, and the program itself. Another held the runtime program, able only to present the presentation, but not edit them. Both “executable file” would fit on one – but it was assumed that the presenter will want to take with you on the performance of only the runtime, so you don’t accidentally switch to edit mode.

The other floppies contain a huge set of pictures on all occasions, the selection of sounds and fonts, examples of presentations (on the basis of which even the “on the knee”, in the train or plane, and then the subway one had time to prepare for the speech).

Persuasion worked quickly and reliably to learn all of its subtleties could by trial and error in the process of preparing the first presentation, not reading books (which is also supplied in the kit) and even not especially straining.

Peter, apparently, in the Aldus may not want to. He became one of the founders of the company, Arabesque, out of Kirkland, Washington, and Persuasion and did not return.

Persuasion 1.0 offered only for Macs and cost $ 495 (if someone has other information, please – found information about price only in the source, which has repeatedly tried to deceive me). In November 1989, came the Persuasion 2.0 for Macs, and a little later (in 1991, about “a little later” I tried to joke) – a version for IBM. Apparently, for Windows and for “axis in half”.

The new version of Persuasion was published until 1997 (after 1994 the program was developed by Adobe Systems).

Diversification was in full swing, but with the release of new products, the company is increasingly late, upgrades are always delayed, something clearly went wrong and the company atmosphere is tense.

In 1989, the situation became unbearable.

The rebellion

In may 1989, suddenly the Sex of Brainerd, two governing employee Aldus, chief marketing officer and chief designer, said the desire to leave. Both participated in the creation of PageMaker.

Both rebel explained the reasons for its decision – that it was clear to almost everyone in the company, except for its head.

He thought carefully and made the right decision. But most likely, it was too late to change something. All for the failure of the company it was already done and waiting in the wings.

Paul Brainard admitted his mistakes, and justice criticism. Appointed new managers stopped managing the daily operations of the company, passing it a group of deputies, and took up what he had not enough time. Finding ideas for new product development. No breakthrough ideas he has not appeared, but now no one interfered in the work of subordinates, knocking them out.

A few hanging the first year of the project moved from the dead point: the colour version PageMaker and Japanese localization for it. Both projects were completed by the end of 1989. And in General, all earned as it is fun.

They say that “rebellion cannot be successful, they would have called it differently”, but the revolution occurred in may 1989, does not pull. A successful rebellion. And clearly no exception to the rule, is exactly what has happened, not once.

Another year, another doubling of the company’s income (under about $ 170 million), again more than half of the revenues brought in PageMaker…

The Acquisition Of Silicon Beach Software

In early 1990, Aldus Corporation was acquired by Silicon Beach Software, a company with a whole set of great programs, along with the people who created these programs. And the reasons for this acquisition two and they are the most banal: Silicon Beach Software genius developed software and were of considerable interest to all who dreamed of expanding product line is time; and Silicon Beach Software, founded in the same 1984, and Aldus, and have not learned to turn their talents into dollars – not all of this, it also takes talent.

About this company, and San Diego, a city in southern California and on the Mexican border, to Tijuana on the other side, I write separately.

Here limited only to the story of the acquisitions of Aldus. The product line has almost doubled and became much more interesting.

First, the acquisition of the company has a new unit, Aldus Consumer Division, to develop and release programs “for the consumer” or something like that was called in the Soviet scientific research Institute, “consumer goods”:

  • Digital Darkroom, in fact, the editor of black and white photographs, an innovative product, particularly impressed by his ability to simulate grayscale on a dot-matrix printer. The program was published in 1987, and in addition to innovation to end users in the first Mac ovskih programs were implemented plugin architecture. By the way, the term “plug-in” first coined by one of the developers of the program, ed Bomke.
  • PersonalPress, very simple, designed for common people, “typewriting” for desktop publishing; PageMaker for Amateurs. Subsequently, Adobe Home Publisher.
  • Super3D, three-dimensional modeling program.
  • SuperCard, an environment for creating multimedia applications, created based on the Apple HyperCard, but much more advanced; SuperCard I did not like, he was technically richer, but something important in it, too. Maybe I just didn’t had the real deal, just watched.

As Digital Darkroom, SuperCard Super3D and hit the “consumer goods” – I’ll never know.

Secondly, one of the programs from Silicon Beach Software has earned the right to be included in the scope of responsibility of the Graphics Division, where the number of fighting FreeHand (as I already wrote, Aldus FreeHand was developed in Texas, thousands of miles from Seattle).

SuperPaint, a program that included the editors of raster and vector graphics, with very easy switching between vector and bitmap toolsets, the usual Mac native users of those years the essence of this program was explained even simpler: it is from MacPaint and MacDraw. This is the second of Mac ovskih programs plug-in architecture.

I’ve seen dozens of programs that developers (and Prodrive) which claimed that they are almost the same as SuperPaint in my time… But nothing on the level SuperPaint and while applicable in the same style which I used, I never found.

Back to Aldus: many of the newly purchased apps sold well, but it was far PageMaker.

From Silicon Beach Software was a few programs, some of which are more interesting caught in Aldus product line, which disappeared at the time of absorption from time to time appearing in the form of replicas or imitations on different platforms. Some of them have to be told why and are going to write about Silicon Beach Software separately.

The next part will begin the dramatic events.

To be continued.

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