Newsflash: Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch heading for… Apple?

Adobe’s CTO is leaving the company and heading to, of all places, Apple. Kevin Lynch, who had been chief technology officer of the San Jose software company since 2008, will become vice president of technology at Apple, reporting to SVP Bob Mansfield, according to various reports.

In an interview in October 2011 during which Lynch talked about Adobe’s transition to selling software on the cloud, I asked him about the famous Flash feud between Apple and Adobe. He downplayed it. It had only been a couple of weeks since Steve Jobs’ death, and Lynch was very respectful, saying “it was not appropriate at this time to talk about Apple vs. Adobe.”

For those who need reminding, the late Apple icon in 2010 wrote a manifesto to explain why its famous iProducts did not run Flash, calling the software unreliable and not secure, among other things, and saying it was on its way out. (See Jobs Illuminates Apple’s Flash Objections.) The following year, Adobe dropped mobile support for Flash (see As Adobe Dumps Flash For Mobile, And 750 Jobs…), and it has increasingly embraced HTML5 as an alternative.

During our interview at his San Francisco office, Lynch was very diplomatic about Apple in general, pointing out that the two companies had a long history of working together. He also seemed to have a bit of a soft spot for Apple, revealing that he was a Mac developer in the 1980s, when he had started a small software firm, and that “he had great access to the team” there.

What happens to Creative Cloud, Adobe’s cloud-based productivity software that Lynch was in charge of? When I talked to Lynch in 2011, the company was making the transition to software as a service; its cloud-based software launched in November 2011. Well, it’s doing just fine. Adobe’s first-quarter results beat estimates, and it reported strong adoption of Creative Cloud, which it said now has more than 500,000 paid subscribers. “Creative Cloud is quickly becoming mainstream,” said CEO Shantanu Narayen in a statement today.

Adobe said in an emailed statement that it will not be replacing Lynch, and that “responsibility for technology development lies with our business unit heads under the leadership of Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.” Bryan Lamkin, SVP of corporate development at Adobe, will be in charge of tech initiatives. “We wish Kevin well in this new chapter of his career,” the statement said.

(Photo from Adobe)


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