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Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch Headed to Apple

Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s CTO and a longtime defender of its Flash technology, is leaving the company to take a position at one of Flash’s biggest critics: Apple.

Lynch tendered his resignation yesterday saying he planned to “pursue other opportunities.” And, according to Adobe, those opportunities are at Apple.

“Kevin Lynch, Adobe CTO, is leaving the company effective March 22 to take a position at Apple,” an Adobe spokesperson told AllThingsD. “We will not be replacing the CTO position; responsibility for technology development lies with our business unit heads under the leadership of Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. Bryan Lamkin, who has recently returned to Adobe, will assume responsibilities for cross company research and technology initiatives as well as Corporate Development. We wish Kevin well in this new chapter of his career.”

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed the hire, and said that Lynch will join Apple as vice president of technology, reporting to Bob Mansfield, SVP of Technologies.

A person familiar with the move said Lynch had aspired to eventually take the CEO job at Adobe, but that Shantanu Narayen isn’t giving that spot up anytime soon. At Apple, he’ll have a much less senior position, but potentially an important one, where he’ll be tasked with coordinating the company’s hardware and software teams.

Lynch isn’t the first Adobe executive to head to Apple — in January 2012, ad executive Todd Teresi joined Apple to run iAd for media boss Eddy Cue. But Lynch is by far the highest-ranking and highest-profile executive to make the switch.

The move is even more striking since Lynch was Adobe’s point man during the war between the two companies over Flash, Adobe’s core video and multimedia technology.

Under former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple moved away from Flash, and none of its iOS mobile devices — iPhones, iPads and iPod — support Flash at all. Lynch was the guy tasked with responding to Apple and Jobs, both in blog posts and interviews like this one he conducted with Kara Swisher in April 2010.

That’s when he described Apple’s moves as a “protectionist strategy,” that was “bad for consumers.” Apparently he’s changed his mind.

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