Microsoft Hires Adobe Design Tool Leader

Mark Hamburg, a key player on Adobe Photoshop, is leaving Adobe for Microsoft.

The competition between Microsoft and Adobe heated up some more recently when Microsoft scored a key hire from its competitor.

Mark Hamburg, who had been chief architect of Adobe Photoshop and who launched the Adobe effort that became Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, resigned from Adobe after 17 years and is joining Microsoft.

In a blog post April 25, Martin Evening, who follows Adobe, said Hamburg "joined Adobe in the fall of 1990, not long after Photoshop 1.0 was released, and was instrumental in devising many of the 'wow' features we have all come to love and rely on daily when we work with Photoshop."

In a statement, Microsoft said, "Hamburg is a legend in the creative professional software world, a pioneer behind the development of Photoshop, and ... Microsoft is excited to have Mark on the team."

Click here to read about Microsoft's deal with Adobe to license its Flash Lite software for use on mobile phones.

Evening said Hamburg leaving was a blow to Adobe.

"I don't think one can downplay the significance of Mark's departure because the contribution he made to the development of Photoshop and Lightroom has certainly been enormous and it goes without saying that his presence will be missed at Adobe," Evening said in his post.

Adobe officials agreed, but said Hamburg left a strong team behind.

In a statement, the company said, "Certainly, Adobe has reaped tremendous benefit from the leadership of Mark Hamburg and his active role on both the Photoshop and Lightroom teams. However, we are confident that the team he leaves behind [is] equally as talented and innovative. It is really their hard work and effort that has brought us great success with the launch of Lightroom and it continues with the current Lightroom 2.0 beta. Our focus remains on serving the needs of photographers and we look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of what the application can do."