Tim Bradshaw| Ft
Apple has poached Adobe’s chief technology officer, Kevin Lynch, an expert in cloud computing and long-time champion of the Flash software that Steve Jobs blocked from the iPhone, stoking a row between the two companies. Mr Lynch joined Adobe, the maker of software and cloud services for marketers, designers and developers such as Photoshop and SiteCatalyst, in 2005 when it acquired Macromedia, creator of Flash, where he was its chief software architect.
Adobe said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that he had resigned, effective this Friday, to “pursue other opportunities”. An Apple spokesman said Mr Lynch will be vice-president of technology, reporting to Bob Mansfield, who leads the iPhone maker’s wireless and semiconductor development.
Mr Mansfield’s technologies division was created last October when Apple undertook its biggest management reshuffle in years, including the departure of iPhone software chief Scott Forstall, after the fumbled launch of its Maps application in iOS 6.
Mr Lynch’s profile page on LinkedIn, the professional networking site, describes his role at Adobe as shaping its “long-term technology vision”, working in “multiscreen, cloud and social computing”.
His appointment comes at a time when Apple is still working to improve its suite of internet services, including Siri, its voice-activated virtual assistant, and its iCloud content syncing system, which are widely seen as weaker than equivalent apps from its chief mobile platform rival, Google.
However, Apple’s campaign to banish from mobile devices Adobe’s Flash technology, which is widely used in PC web browsers for online animations, has been more successful. Mr Jobs, Apple’s late co-founder, was savage in his criticism of Flash when the iPhone launched, arguing that it was flawed and drained battery life.
Adobe abandoned Flash for mobile devices in 2011 as developers looked to apps to deliver their services on smartphones. However, before that, in interviews with the FT and others, Mr Lynch had been one of Adobe’s most prominent defenders of the technology. In February 2010, he argued in a company blogpost that Flash was vital for the web’s “productivity and expressiveness” and that blocking it in favour of other web development languages threatened to send digital video “back to the dark ages”.
He was also critical of Apple’s tight control over the iPhone’s App Store, arguing that the “model of open access has proven to be more effective in the long term than a walled approach, where a manufacturer tries to determine what users are able to see or approves and disapproves individual content and applications”.