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Apple Hires Adobe Cloud Expert

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Adobe’s Kevin Lynch, who fought Apple over Flash, now joins as CTO

Apple has hired Adobe‘s chief technology officer, Kevin Lynch, as its new vice president for technology, bringing on board an executive who is ironically perhaps best known for his public war of words with Apple back in 2009, when Adobe’s Flash technology was banned from Apple portable devices.

Lynch has held his post at Adobe since 2005, when he joined Adobe with the company’s acquisition of Flash creator Macromedia, where he was chief software architect.

kevin lynch adobe apple squareEarly Mac developer

He has long worked in the software development field, and produced some of the earliest applications for Apple’s Macintosh computers, with products including FrameMaker, a desktop publishing tool – also later acquired by Adobe. Lynch also worked at General Magic, a 1990s Apple spin-off focused on handheld computing and communications devices – the predecessors for the current generation of smartphones.

Lynch’s latest efforts at Adobe have focused on subscription-based services and wireless devices, including the introduction of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, a subscription-based version of Adobe Creative Suite graphic design, video editing and web development tools that allows users to access online services for file sharing, collaboration and publishing.

Adobe currently has more than 500,000 Creative Cloud subscribers, the company said on Tuesday in its most recent financial results.

Lynch’s cloud expertise could be useful at Apple, which is currently refining cloud-based services such as Siri and iCloud.

Transition to the cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud

The hire “could be a signal that Apple is interested in more than just the device – Adobe has done a good job transitioning its products to the cloud and putting in place the elements of a subscription model,” said Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond in a research note. “Perhaps this gives Apple some experience that will help them compete with Google and Microsoft on a front they are not very good at right now.”

An Apple spokesman said that Lynch, who leaves Adobe effective 22 March, will report to Apple vice president Bob Mansfield.

In October Mansfield was named to head a new Technologies group at Apple, bringing together mobile and semiconductor teams from across the company. The formation of the group was one of a series of management changes by chief executive Tim Cook following criticism of the introduction of the company’s mobile mapping application in iOS. Those changes included the departure of iOS software chief Scott Forstall.

Adobe said it does not plan to replace the chief technology officer position.

“Responsibility for technology development lies with our business unit heads under the leadership of Adobe chief executive Shantanu Narayen,” Adobe said in a statement. “Bryan Lamkin, who has recently returned to Adobe, will assume responsibilities for cross-company research and technology initiatives as well as corporate development.”

Apple banned Flash from its portable devices, beginning with the iPhone, arguing the technology was unsuitable for mobile hardware. The move was followed by a public war of words between Adobe and then-Apple chief executive Steve Jobs.

Adobe stopped developing Flash for mobile devices in 2011, focusing instead on emerging technologies such as HTML5.

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