Now former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch is headed to Apple, the company who famously blocked out Flash on the iPhone and likely precipitated that technology’s long slide into relative obscurity, Adobe has confirmed to TechCrunch in a statement. Lynch once wrote a vocal defense of Flash on the Adobe company blog, but lately his role has been all about ushering Adobe into the future, not dwelling on its past.
Lynch has been instrumental in spearheading and helping Adobe’s Creative Cloud efforts get off the ground in recent years. Both Creative Cloud (and Marketing Cloud, which Lynch also led the development of at Adobe) were about moving Adobe away from boxed sales and building its products into primarily cloud-based offerings, with an SaaS approach to sales. You could say that Lynch helped Adobe succeed at becoming a cloud-first company faster than any other technological giant currently trying to master the same shift.
Apple has made no secret about its belief that the cloud will become the center of the computer user’s universe, and iCloud, which it announced at WWDC in 2011 during the keynote, was meant to be just that for Apple and its ecosystem. To some degree, it has taken strides to make that happen, by making iCloud the glue that ties iOS to OS X in terms of keeping information and media available to all devices. In others, it hasn’t fared so well: Apple constantly faces complaints about the performance of cloud-based products like iCloud and iTunes Match, and outages are not infrequent.
Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue is currently in charge of iCloud at the company, and has been since he was given control of its predecessor MobileMe, which was even worse in terms of its reputation. Cue heads up a host of Apple’s other offerings, however, including iTunes and the App Store, as well as Siri, Maps and iAd. It’s very conceivable that Cue could use some support from a proven cloud services veteran to shore up iCloud’s continued deficiencies.
Lynch is also responsible for championing Adobe’s commitment to multi-platform product development and responsive product design. He’s the reason Adobe has done much to address user demand for full-featured products on mobile devices, with the launch of Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad, and more recently, Photoshop Touch for iPhone.
AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski and CNBC’s John Fortt reports that Lynch will be reporting to Apple SVP of Technologies Bob Mansfield as VP of Technology. Mansfield’s areas of expertise are wireless and semiconductor tech, but his official title gives him a wide berth at the company. Lynch’s software role at Adobe may not seem an immediate match for Mansfield’s team, but Mansfield was said to be staying on to help oversee development of “future products” after reversing his decision to retire last year. Apple is a company that rarely silos hardware and software products, so if it is planning a big cloud push that works across all its devices, Lynch could be a good candidate for that no matter who he ends up reporting to.