Yesterday, the announcement that Adobe’s Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch would be joining Apple as VP of Technologies took most of us in the Apple blogosphere by surprise.
It came as a surprise because Lynch was one of Adobe’s lead spokesperson when it came to defending Flash on mobile devices back when Apple took the controversial decision of not including it on the iPhone and then the iPad.
As you probably know, Steve Jobs famously or infamously (depending on which side of the fence you were siting) provided six reasons for not allowing Flash on its iPhone OS devices (that’s what it was called back then) in his “Thoughts on Flash” open letter.
While the decision seemed controversial at that time, Steve Jobs was vindicated when Google dropped support for it on its Android devices after trying to market it as one of its unique selling points for two years. This ultimately forced Adobe to kill development of mobile Flash and decided to focus on HTML5.
Lynch had responded with the following response to Steve Jobs open letter:
We feel confident that were Apple and Adobe to work together as we are with a number of other partners, we could provide a terrific experience with Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
However, as we posted last week, given the legal terms Apple has imposed on developers, we have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices for both Flash Player and AIR. We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others.
We look forward to delivering Flash Player 10.1 for Android smartphones as a public preview at Google I/O in May, and then a general release in June. From that point on, an ever increasing number and variety of powerful, Flash-enabled devices will be arriving which we hope will provide a great landscape of choice.
If that wasn’t enough he also featured on this Adobe Myth Hackers parody, in which he blended, electrocuted, exploded and steamrolled the iPhone in his quest to get Adobe Flash to run on it.
While the embarrassing parody and the lack of foresight in seeing the problems with Flash on mobile devices does make Lynch make a questionable choice, it does appear that Apple has brought Lynch on board to improve its Cloud based services, an area where he seems to have been quite successful at Adobe.
Bloomberg reports that “Lynch had led Adobe’s push to focus more on subscription-based services and wireless devices, introducing Creative Cloud software, which lets designers use mobile applications for creating printed pages and websites from an iPad or other tablets.” Adobe has over 500,000 Creative Cloud subscribers currently.
As AppleInsider also points out he was responsible for the company’s ubiquitous Portable Document Format (PDF)” as well as managing the “alignment of Adobe’s servers and tools with the company’s technology platform.”
Will it be another of Tim Cook’s big hire that has gone horribly wrong like John Browett? It remains to be seen, but to judge him based on his actions in defending a company he worked for, would be a little naive and I think most people who are giving their opinions are not even qualified enough for it. I would rather have faith in Tim Cook’s decision making skills. People also seem to ignore the fact that Bob Mansfield, Senior Vice President of Technologies, who Lynch would be reporting to, had a major role to play in hiring him.