Adobe’s chief technology officer headed to Apple


The Apple logo hangs in a glass enclosure above the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York in this September 20, 2012 file photo. (LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS)
March 20, 2013

Apple is welcoming a new face to its executive fold. CNBC was the first to reportthat Adobe chief technology officer Kevin Lynch is headed to Apple to become a vice president of technology.

The CNBC report also said that Lynch will report to Apple senior vice president of technologies Bob Mansfield. Adobe reported Lynch would leave the company for “other opportunities” in Securities and Exchange Commission filings; Apple later confirmed Lynch’s hire and position in the company to All Things Digital.

News that Lynch would make the move to Apple drew a swift and dividedresponse from the dedicated community of Apple-focused bloggers, many of whom remembered Lynch’s part in an older fight between Apple and Adobe over support for Flash video on Apple devices. Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs publicly criticized Flash for being crash-prone on the iPad and other mobile devices, putting his support behind another, now common, standard known as HTML5.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber called Lynch a “bozo,” noting that the executive had penned Adobe’s reaction to Apple’s decision. Gruber was particularly critical of a point in Lynch’s argument where the executive said that failing to rally around a common video standard could throw users back to “the dark ages of video on the Web.”

That hasn’t been the case, Gruber noted. Flash has continued to decline on mobile devices — even Adobe stopped development on mobile Flash in favor of work on HTML5 in 2011. Gruber concluded his criticism by saying that he had a “bad feeling” about Lynch’s hire.

Others were not so harsh. Wired’s Steven Levy, for example, called Lynch a “star” and said the executive’s defense of Flash was a part of his job as an Adobe employee. AppleInsider’s Daniel Eran Dilgernoted that Flash was far from Lynch’s only project. He has roots in making software for the Macintosh and has been credited with leading a company push to get its creative software, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, into the cloud. That, he said, proves Lynch could be a valuable support player for Apple’s upper-level team.

Dilger noted that the reorganization that followed the departure of Apple’s mobile operating system lead, Scott Forstall, has left the remaining executives with a lot on their plates. Mansfield, for example, as senior vice president for “Technologies,” is responsible for overseeing all of Apple’s wireless and semiconductor teams.

Lynch, Dilger said, could use his experience working with developers and managing platforms to help the company take some of the pressure off of its executive committee.

According to Adobe’s filing, Lynch will leave the company on Friday. Adobe will not replace Lynch, the company said in a statement to The Next Web. His duties will be covered by technology business unit heads reporting to Adobe’s Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development Bryan Lamkin.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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