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Apple Hires Former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch, Destroyer of iPhones 209

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the signs-point-to-cloudier dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Why did Apple hire former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch as vice president of technology? Adobe and Apple spent years fighting a much-publicized battle over the latter's decision to ban Adobe Flash from iOS devices. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was very public in his condemnation of Flash as a tool for rich-content playback, denigrating it in an April 2010 letter posted on Apple's Website as flawed with regard to battery life, security, reliability and performance. Lynch was very much the public face of Adobe's public-relations pushback to Apple's criticism; in a corporate video shot for an Adobe developer conference in 2009, he even helped run an iPhone over with a steamroller. (Hat tip to Daring Fireball's John Gruber for digging that video up.) As recently as 2010, he was still arguing that Flash was superior to HTML5, which eventually surpassed it to become the virtual industry standard for Web-based rich content. It's interesting to speculate whether Steve Jobs would have hired someone who so publicly denigrated Apple's flagship product. But Jobs is dead, and his corporate successors in Cupertino—tasked with leading Apple through a period of fierce competition — obviously looked at Lynch and decided he'd make a perfect fit as an executive."
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Apple Hires Former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch, Destroyer of iPhones

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  • Game of Thrones (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's some type of bizarre, marital Game of Thrones type alliance with Adobe royalty marrying into Apple where they'll conceive who knows what?
    • Re:Game of Thrones (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:47PM (#43225601)

      Or maybe it's just a guy who wants a well paying job and he knows all the technobabble is just that...
       
      I think too many geeks think that they world does really work out like a Game of Thrones scenerio. Thinking that one company needs to live for another to thrive and that any time someone jumps ship it's because the ship is sinking. I've seen this kind of talk around Slashdot for more than a decade and so far most of these entities that were suppose to turn belly-up at any minute are still around.
       
      Give up. Live a fulfilling life. You're wasting your time trying to get everyone to agree with you.

      • by ccguy (1116865)

        Or maybe it's just a guy who wants a well paying job and he knows all the technobabble is just that...

        I hear he's going to be in charge of T.P.S. reports

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        If you think Flash vs HTML5 is just technobabble, I invite you to GTFO.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Would that make Steve Jobs Joffrey Baratheon?

    • We don't need to see them in bed to figure where this is going, do we?

    • Apple and Adobe have had a really weird love/hate relationship for years.
  • Hello 1985 how the hell have you been?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:42PM (#43225557)

    Do you believe that everyone has a brand loyalty problem? A professional can see beyond all of this kind of noise while exploiting it to their will at the same time.
     
    It reminds me of a DJ from a classic rock station who got let go, he went on to a country station and was in all their ads about how the "new country" music was exciting and great. I know someone who met him and talked about it and the DJ's reply was along the lines of "It's just another gig. It's my job to make it sound like something you'll want to listen to." This really is no different. Even fanboys who are forced to move on eventually shrug off their old brand and act like whatever they were forced into is the best thing going. Some people thrive on making what they own is the best even if they know it isn't.
     
    Meh.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wow, great post. Sales & Product branding 101. Sad to think the basement dwellers here on Slashdot needs that explained to them.

      I'm in technical sales and have changed jobs to my competitor. Even my customers (engineers) understand that my zest for Company A is now turned to zest for Company B. They know I am passionate about whoever I'm representing, and they respect that.

    • Fanboys like to think they're normal so they must assume everyone is an irrational doofus.
    • Very, very true, but it also misses the point a bit.

      Where I think some of the confusion over this hire comes from is in the fact that, as an executive over Flash while he was with Adobe, he not only preached the message that the company wanted preached: he was the one that came up with the message they should be preaching. Which is to say, he was in the perfect position several years ago to both recognize that Flash was at its peak and to reposition it accordingly with a new direction for its marketing.

      Put

      • What the devil was he supposed to do? "Gee, I guess Apple is right. Time to pack in one of our biggest money-makers and the product my entire job is centered around and admit it isn't any good any more." He needed to make the strongest case possible for Flash and since the iPhone had declared Flash worthless and anybody using an iPhone would, by definition, *not* be using Flash, his only alternative was to bash the iPhone.

        He's not a true believer; he's just somebody who used to have a job that involved k

        • Bashing the iPhone while setting up a long-term repositioning of the product is a good strategy. It mitigates short-term damage and prepares the product for the future. I'd have no problems with that. What I was saying in my last post, however, was that he did the former without also doing the latter. It wasn't until years after Flash was well past it's prime that we finally started to see some efforts to rethink how Flash is being used, rather than seeing those efforts being made right as Flash was startin

    • by AndreR (814444) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @03:13PM (#43226539) Homepage

      Everyone's replying in agreement to you, but that is not the reason why people are concerned.

      The reason is that this guy wasn't an employee, he was CTO. As CTO, he had the power to influence decisions.

      He didn't have to follow the company's lead, he was the one dictating what that was.
      And he sucked at that.

  • by H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:47PM (#43225597) Homepage
    If you can't beat them, join them.
    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      If you can't beat them, join them.

      Or beat them from the inside.

  • wonderful! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:52PM (#43225639) Homepage Journal

    Just announced: iPhones will now feature a permanent pop-up message that says "A new version of the IOS is available, do you want to install?"

    • In all honesty, that's not a bad thing. Aside from the annoyance factor, it means things are getting fixed and features being added and the updates are at least available to the public.

      I don't own an iDevice, so I don't know if they have easy or automated OTA firmware/iOS updates or not.

      I have a cheap 2 year old Android phone and it does not have firmware/OS updates available (v2.3.4).

      • I don't own an iDevice, so I don't know if they have easy or automated OTA firmware/iOS updates or not.

        I have a cheap 2 year old Android phone and it does not have firmware/OS updates available (v2.3.4).

        (a) They do, and (b) that seems to be a fairly common problem.

    • by jd2112 (1535857)

      Just announced: (buffering)iPhones will now feat(buffering)ure a permanent pop-(buffering)up message that says "A new versi(buffering)o(buffering)n of the IOS is availabl(buffering)e, do you wan(buffering)t to install(buffering)?"

      Fify.

    • by toddestan (632714)

      Wait, they got the guy from the Java division at Oracle too???

  • by Inoen (590519) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:52PM (#43225649)

    HTML5, which eventually surpassed it to become the virtual industry standard for Web-based rich content

    I would disagree. Flash is still very much the de facto standard, like it or not.

    • It's also bloated and beyond help. But developers are too lazy and companies are too selfish to create a great alternative asap.
  • by Speare (84249) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:53PM (#43225659) Homepage Journal

    Maybe it's as simple as Jobs' advice to Cook: "I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what's right."

    Or maybe it's a cheap way to buy out an antagonist, let him spin his wheels in a harm-free zone for a couple years, and do what Apple does with less angst.

    • Baloney. Steve Jobs would lie to make his products look better. Remember when the iPhone launched and we heard about how nobody wants native applications, that JavaScript and HTML are the future? That was just because the SDK wasn't ready. There are numerous examples of this and also how he thrashed competitors' products when his copy was behind schedule.

      This new guy may or may not have believed what he was saying (how could he, really?) but he was good at toeing the party line for his employer. In Gut

      • Baloney. Steve Jobs would lie to make his products look better. Remember when the iPhone launched and we heard about how nobody wants native applications, that JavaScript and HTML are the future? That was just because the SDK wasn't ready.

        Yeah, they actually wrote the apps the iPhone came with with Flash, because there was no other way.

  • It's all a game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @01:55PM (#43225673)
    This summary is saying, "I won't choose you for me team because you scored lots of points against me. Politicians and execs don't really "care" about things. They are professionals doing a job.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Steve Jobs famously did care about things on a personal level, and would let his personal prejudices rule him on many well-documented occasions. That's why this is news, it's not business as usual for Apple. Of course, it shouldn't surprise anyone, because Steve Jobs is dead. Some people seem to have missed this, or maybe they just think he slid to unlock and rose after three days.

  • by organgtool (966989) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:02PM (#43225747)
    For years, Adobe has been a black hole of technological innovation. I think the bigger question is why anyone at Apple would even consider hiring anyone from Adobe to be their CTO? What's next? Hiring leadership from within RIM to be the president of Apple's mobile division?
    • I think your mistake is that you believe Apple cares about technological innovation. They care about profits. Was Adobe profitable? Were they able to monetize and existing product, extracting as much value from customers that were already invested in their product and either unable or unwilling to leave? Yes, they were very profitable. That's exactly the situation apples in now. They've got people locked in and no-where to go with them. Time to put the squeeze on.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:15PM (#43225879)

    At the end of the day these guys usually are not much more than figureheads. They institute a vague vision and ambiguous goal that is mostly reactive to industry trends. It's the people beneath them who do the real thinking, who worry about specifics, implementation and execution. The only real benefit they bring is that they have intimate knowledge of the process, philosophy and goals of their previous employer.

    What else does he really bring to the table?

  • Flash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cloud K (125581) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:18PM (#43225899)

    I trust this doesn't mean they'll be bringing Flash back though *shudder*

    It's one of those interesting points with Steve Jobs. At the time, the decision seemed awful and a lot of people were cheering on alternatives such as Android for including it. But a couple of years on it would seem that many share my view of: hey, he was right! Flash IS an awful resource drain, and because of him banning it from iOS there's been great progress towards HTML5 and the drive for efficiency. I seem to recall even Adobe have agreed it's the correct move at this point. Android has had Flash for a while but the latest versions have dropped it. It'd be so ironic if (unlikely) iOS gained Flash and everyone flocked to Android to get away from it this time.

    • Re:Flash (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:37PM (#43226123)
      Flash was never intended to be a universal code interpreter to run across all systems (like Java was supposed to do). Flash was initially developed as an artist's animation tool to help create small-size low-bandwidth movies without making them full video files. It's still wildly popular among artists for that reason. That you could use Flash to do things like play video and make (clunky) websites was an accidental side benefit. It was never intended to do those things.

      HTML5 was intended to do those things. So it was pretty much inevitable that sites would move to HTML5 for that sort of thing. However, as I said, Flash is still wildly popular among artists (so much so that it's been used to produce several animated TV shows and movies). I don't see it going away any time soon.
      • Flash was never intended to be a universal code interpreter to run across all systems (like Java was supposed to do).

        Yep, but then you had IE 6. Around that time you had to test your javascript against two browser versions of IE on two platforms (mac and PC) and write additional browser detection and code for each case where code differed. I remember around that time there was something quite simple I was trying to do, a mouse over, which required different code to run for each of the four cases. Flash on the other hand worked fine across both versions and both platforms. It was easier and more reliable to just do everyth

  • Do not be offended. Rolling over pretty much ANYTHING with a steam roller is way cool.
  • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:26PM (#43225997)

    Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was very public in his condemnation of Flash as a tool for rich-content playback, denigrating it in an April 2010 letter posted on Apple's Website as flawed with regard to battery life, security, reliability and performance.

    That was just PR to keep the masses thinking Apple was on their side. The real reason they ddin't support Flash was because it was a code interpreter. i.e. It let you run external code. That meant if iOS supported Flash, you could use it to run apps on your iOS device without having gotten them via the App Store.

    At the time, Apple had a very strict policy against code interpreters [archive.org]. They've loosened their stance somewhat since then, but it's still pretty restrictive. It's their garden, and they want to keep it walled off. On the one hand this does improve the security of their devices somewhat. On the other it means all executables which are bought and sold for the device have to go through their App Store and 30% cut.

    Battery life, reliability, and performance were all red herrings because in most Android browsers, the Flash plugin wouldn't play by default. If you went to a web page with embedded Flash, an image of a stylized F would show up in its place, and you had to click on it before the Flash would actually play. No hit to the device's performance unless you specifically wanted the Flash to play.

    • by the computer guy nex (916959) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:30PM (#43226035)

      Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was very public in his condemnation of Flash as a tool for rich-content playback, denigrating it in an April 2010 letter posted on Apple's Website as flawed with regard to battery life, security, reliability and performance.

      That was just PR to keep the masses thinking Apple was on their side. The real reason they ddin't support Flash was because it was a code interpreter. i.e. It let you run external code. That meant if iOS supported Flash, you could use it to run apps on your iOS device without having gotten them via the App Store. At the time, Apple had a very strict policy against code interpreters [archive.org]. They've loosened their stance somewhat since then, but it's still pretty restrictive. It's their garden, and they want to keep it walled off. On the one hand this does improve the security of their devices somewhat. On the other it means all executables which are bought and sold for the device have to go through their App Store and 30% cut. Battery life, reliability, and performance were all red herrings because in most Android browsers, the Flash plugin wouldn't play by default. If you went to a web page with embedded Flash, an image of a stylized F would show up in its place, and you had to click on it before the Flash would actually play. No hit to the device's performance unless you specifically wanted the Flash to play.

      Don't think you understand how these technologies work. Apple has adopted HTML5 capabilities such as local storage, offline caching, and web workers as fast as anyone. You can make fantastic mobile web apps on top of HTML5 completely bypassing the app store. Flash is an abomination and needed to go. There was no ulterior motive here. It was a terrible technology that needed to be put down.

      • Along with what you are saying, Apple is both highly astute and highly ruthless about cutting out features and technology that are not necessary to the end user. Their judgement is not always right, of course. But you have to give credit to the company who put out the original iPhone without a camera, knowing full well that every tech reviewer was going to ding them for it. Such discipline and customer insight should be admired in a world where bloat is the norm.
        • by SpzToid (869795)

          I don't think your point is so valid regarding leaving basic features like a camera out, because Apple can count on the fanbois to buy anything resembling an iPhone upon its release; they'll camp out overnight for it. Apple knows they can skimp on features like that to release a product, while giving their engineers time to actually develop things like a camera, and A2DP bluetooth *years* down the road.

          • Apple knows they can skimp on features like that to release a product, while giving their engineers time to actually develop things like a camera, and A2DP bluetooth *years* down the road.

            The very first iPhone shipped with a camera, and A2DP Bluetooth was in the 2nd generation (iPhone 3G).

        • But you have to give credit to the company who put out the original iPhone without a camera, knowing full well that every tech reviewer was going to ding them for it. Such discipline and customer insight should be admired in a world where bloat is the norm.

          Whilst I agree with the sentiment, the original iPhone did have a camera.

      • Don't think you understand how these technologies work. Apple has adopted HTML5 capabilities such as local storage, offline caching, and web workers as fast as anyone. You can make fantastic mobile web apps on top of HTML5 completely bypassing the app store. Flash is an abomination and needed to go. There was no ulterior motive here. It was a terrible technology that needed to be put down.

        Translation: "Steve Jobs was right, Flash sucks."

      • by dwpro (520418)

        I don't think you know how these companies work. We've seen this exact scenario play out with IE and firefox. Apple embraced HTML 5 because they had no real choice, they must keep up with web standards in order to remain competitive.

        • Except that Apple was early to the HTML5 table, not a laggard. They had a real choice, the choice that the majority of other's were using: Flash. Apple killed Flash in favour of HTML5.

    • by sootman (158191)

      >> Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was very public in his condemnation of Flash
      >> as a tool for rich-content playback, denigrating it in an April 2010 letter posted
      >> on Apple's Website as flawed with regard to battery life, security, reliability
      >> and performance.

      > That was just PR to keep the masses thinking Apple was on their side. The
      > real reason they ddin't support Flash was because it was a code interpreter.
      > i.e. It let you run external code. That meant if iOS supported

  • So the obituary for flash is premature.

  • by onyxruby (118189)

    How is this any different from a lay person at Adobe switching over to Apple or vise versa? People go from one employer to another all the time anymore, so what? I guess the only thing that's notable is that we have a cool video of an iphone getting crushed, but that was just marketing.

  • by cruff (171569) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:34PM (#43226083)
    It is obvious, I think. Mr Lynch will continue to destroy iPhones. He will have a squad of Apple goons, who will invade peoples homes to destroy any iPhone older than two years old, so that people will be forced to buy new iPhones to keep the revenue stream up. They tested this concept out with the iPhone prototype debacles, and found that the local police would be willing to look the other way when Constitutional rights were being violated.
  • But Jobs is dead, and his corporate successors in Cupertino - tasked with leading Apple through a period of fierce competition - obviously looked at Lynch and decided he'd make a perfect fit as an executive.

    The same guys that hired the dude from the down-market UK retail chain... how'd that work out?

    Magic's gone.

  • by WilliamBaughman (1312511) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @04:21PM (#43227183)
    Everyone is fixated on Adobe's obvious failings and not their past strengths. The only thing Adobe has done competently is make tools and content distribution tools (video hosting servers with DRM) that come with vendor lock-in. Apple want to make it's iBook SDK really good so developers use it, and difficult to port away from so consumers continue to buy iPads. Apple may also want to start pushing QuickTime again as a YouTube competitor now that YouTube is entering the paid content market. On my iDevice, I get most of my video content through YouTube and HTML5 tags, both of which are probably too available to Android devices for Apple's taste.
  • As recently as 2010, he was still arguing that Flash was superior to HTML5, which eventually surpassed it to become the virtual industry standard for Web-based rich content.

    What? Surpassed? When? HTML5 has a long way to go before it properly uproots Flash. We've been hearing that Flash is dead for years and years now, and yet aside from the mobile space (which admittedly has grown considerably), Flash is still pretty much on top in the PC space. I wait in earnest for HTML5 to be the flash killing beast it is portrayed as, but that time has not come yet... There is still much work to be done.

  • Lynch is a CTO who took a desktop-based software company with incredible institutional inertia and reoriented it towards cloud services in record time.

    Here's a quote I read somewhere else: "Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at services." Apple has sucked at services from day one, iDisk, MobileMe, iCloud, whatever, it's all shit. It needs someone to sort that out - maybe Lynch is the guy they picked.

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