Enfocus, Gradual and EskoArtwork
EskoArtwork recently announced the acquisition of Gradual Software with the merging of Gradual staff, technology and assets into the Enfocus part of EskoArtwork. It must be an interesting move for many of the individuals involved since some of the people behind Gradual were instrumental in building Enfocus prior to its acquisition by EskoArtwork. One of those people was Peter Camps, who founded both Enfocus and Gradual and is now "Senior Vice President Enfocus in the EskoArtwork group". Peter has authored an interesting piece that explains the background to this latest move and how it fits in with a number of trends across the industry. In the article Peter also mentions XPS, and how it may become important alongside variants of PDF for Enfocus to address. Here's the quote:
While PDF is heavily entrenched in the publishing market, it may not forever remain the sole portable document format in use. For example, the XPS format pioneered by Microsoft may become an important player in office publishing environments. At the same time, new PDF-related standards such as PDF/A and PDF/E promise increased use of PDF in new areas including long-term archiving and engineering. It is natural for Enfocus to expand its quality assurance technologies to new files formats like these.
Looking more widely than XPS, another interesting aspect to this acquisition is that it underlines how much consolidation is occuring in the industry. That's not just consolidation at the company level (where I often wonder which of the players will be next to merge) but also at the workflow level. For example, what were once clear boundaries between office and commerical printing are becoming increasingly blurred, which might be one reason why technologies that help workflows cross those boundaries are being so rapidly adopted...