Steve Jobs’ death clears way for Adobe CTO defection

“Long-standing chief technology officer Kevin Lynch has left Adobe, but why?” Tim Anderson writes for The Register. “It’s Flash that Lynch has been closely associated with in recent years. And Steve Jobs barred Flash from all our futures by blocking it from the iPhone and iPad.”

“So, why is Lynch leaving Adobe? The news comes in the context of turbulent change for the company,” Anderson writes. “Adobe’s product strategy was once built on Flash, a strategy that was killed by Apple which refused to allow it on the iPhone and iPad.”

Anderson writes, “One interpretation is that Apple considers Lynch a strategic hire to assist with its own transition towards cloud services, and to realise the potential of iCloud… It is also possible that Lynch had become a poor fit at Adobe, following its transition to digital media and digital marketing… Some observers consider that Lynch was too much wedded to Flash to be comfortable in the new Adobe. I have heard that he was opposed to the moves to cut back on Flash investment, placing him in an uncomfortable position once the deal was done.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Maybe Lynch simply has a natural affinity for riding the rails.

New hire Kevin Lynch once compared Apple to a 19th-century railroad
New hire Kevin Lynch once compared Apple to a 19th-century railroad

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Why the heck did Apple hire Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch? – March 20, 2013
Apple hires Adobe technology chief Kevin Lynch as vice president – March 20, 2013
Adobe CTO tries defending the indefensible Flash pig – November 9, 2010
Adobe CTO likens Apple to 19th-century railroad – May 5, 2010

26 Comments

    1. Kind of a stupid assessment.

      He has a good track record of being very capable of managing software development teams.

      Keep in mind that Phil Schiller came to Apple from Macromedia (prior to MM being bought by Adobe), where he was VP of Marketing. One of the main products he was in charge of promoting: Flash

      1. This maybe the best response so far. It’s a buddy system. Hopefully trust between Lynch and Schiller will help with integration and focusing on the right thing, mentoring, this is how we do thing at Apple.

    2. @X.

      You obviously know nothing about Kevin. He’s brilliant. Flash (and all Adobe products) could have been so much better if Adobe didn’t outsource everything. Flash sucks because of Adobe not Kevin. Now Kevin is moving to the right company where they hire good people and pay them well. He’ll be able to do great things at Apple. He didn’t deserve to be stuck with the bottom feeders at Adobe.

      This is a great loss for Adobe (even if they are too stupid to see it) and a real win for Apple. I look forward to seeing the great things that Apple has in mind for him to do. Whatever he does there, it will be great. I can’t wait!

  1. Why do so many companies do this silliness? Apple has the best retail group int he industry, they clearly have some of the smartest developers in the industry. Stop looking for “talent” outside and promote from within. I guarentee other companies want Apples talent – why don’t they want it?

    1. Just as you are wedded to the idea that promoting from within is inherently better than from without, people inside get wedded to their own positions, ideas and histories. Good people being brought in from the outside can do wonders for the energy level of the teams they manage. You should also consider that we have no insider information on how an internal search proceeded and what it resulted in. But we do know that Mr. Lynch will be working for Bob Mansfield, so we expect that Mr. Lynch won’t be given latitude to throw babies out with bathwater here.

  2. This is not true: “Adobe’s product strategy was once built on Flash, a strategy that was killed by Apple which refused to allow it on the iPhone and iPad.”

    IIRC, Adobe could not produce a working final version. Apple blocked them from buggy beta-ware on iOS.

    They never had a working RC iOS version.. NEVER..

  3. Apple has hired him for a specific reason. It may not be appearent now and hopefully not for a while. If is was obvious, then it would be easy to counter. Cook or Ive’s may be brewing up something that Samsung or Adobe may not like and with this new hire, possibly, will help to define.

  4. What I think the forrest that everyone seems to be missing for the trees is predicated on a falsehood. That Steve had a grudge against flash & or Adobe and killed it. He didn’t, his problem with flash is that it simply didn’t work in the mobile space. He didn’t want to “kill it” he simply didn’t want it compromising the iPhone and iPad (& iPad) users experience. It was Adobe who escalated it into a holy turf war.
    The real truth is Adobe simply never has a reasonable plug in for mobile platforms . Even the last incarnations wasted cycles at a frightening rate (killing batteries & overheating devices) stuttered on simple video and was nearly unusable on all but the simplest flash apps & games.
    Adobe not Steve, via their incompetence, killed flash; plain and simple. Steve simply recognized it before everyone else (as was common) and refused to compromise his mobile products with “crippleware”.

    Given that scenario, was Kevin Lynch on one of the ones at Adobe who made the decision to just attempt to port flash to mobile by shoehorn and bandaid, or did he see something greater on the horizon (but that would require massive legacy code purging (something adobe’s senior management has been very reluctant to do for a decade or more)

  5. Flash had its time and place. It really did make the Internet a better place for awhile.

    But it was never the stable bit of code it needed to be for Apple’s new paradigm. Think about your iOS devices. They may need an occasional restart and the odd app might crash every so often, but on the whole it’s a VERY stable experience unless you’ve got some sort of hardware problem.

    The iPad and iPhone would be cool curiosities if they were unstable or sucked battery life. But they would not have sold hundreds of millions of them as they have.

    My guess is Steve and company said to Adobe: “This is what we’re doing. If you want Flash on here, you’ve got to make it much better.” And when the SDK came out and Jobs could see that all Flash would do is allow somewhat lazy porting of existing Flash crapware to become iOS apps he said no f-ing way.

    Adobe had invested in Flash and planned to keep doing so, but they didn’t even know what was coming down the line in the form of tablets and smartphones. Only Apple really understood it.

    I understood why Adobe defended Flash (it had been a HUGE investment for them). So I don’t really care if this guy defended it because that’s what he was paid to do. However, now that he’s one of the good guys I hope his time and talents can go to the pursuit of the next great pieces of software — which is something that Flash was relative to its time (which expired more than five years ago).

    End rant.

    1. While I am certainly no insider when it comes to the history of Flash, it was never clear to me how ANY Macromedia wares improved the user experience.

      With rare exception, Flash merely added annoyance & useless bells & whistles, while providing the developer and the consumer absolutely no improvement in knowledge transfer or communication. Just because one can overcomplicate doesn’t meant that one should.

      Much as a PowerPoint is today synonymous with taking a simple blackboard pitch and turning it into an overcomplicated multi-megabyte smoke and mirrors show of wasted hours of “work”, so too is Flash a waste of time and resources for everyone. I’m not a luddite, and yes, I do acknowledge the need for some interactive web technologies. But I have yet to come across more than a small handful of sites that employ Flash in a way that makes me appreciate it.

      Moreover, Apple did once have a competent Quicktime group. Not sure what happened there, but Apple seemes to have totally mismanaged that platform. Why has Quicktime not evolved to become a superior interactive web technology?

      1. I agree that Flash was never perfect and, like any extra layer, just adds complexity.

        But people do look for bells and whistles in things. It’s in our nature to be inspired by “extras” — at least in general.

        That’s what makes iOS so impressive to me. Its underlying technologies, including its SDK, allows for what Flash, HTLM5, etc. ought to be. Bells and whistles and stability all at once.

        I still Flash had its time and place. It’s just really hard to imagine now having to go back and live there with what we know and have now.

  6. The cited article’s author is quoted as stating, “I have heard that he was opposed to the moves to cut back on Flash investment, placing him in an uncomfortable position once the deal was done.”

    Oh, I see. But this guy will be totally “comfortable” working at the very company that motivated Adobe’s abandonment of Flash? Uh, sure…

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