Adobe Brings Open Source Veteran on Board to Lead Mobile

Adobe Brings Open Source Veteran on Board to Lead Mobile

Adobe has appointed Matt Asay, a veteran of open source leadership with experience at Alfresco, Novell, Canonical and MongoDB, as its new vice president for Mobile.

Adobe (ADBE) has a new lead man for mobile marketing. That's no surprise. Executives are appointed every day. But here's the interesting bit: Adobe's new vice president of mobile, Matt Asay, is an open source veteran, bringing experience from Canonical, MongoDB and Novell to a company not particularly known for open source investment.

As the Register noted recently, Asay assumed the new position at Adobe on Nov. 3. Until then, he worked as vice president of Community at MongoDB, the open source database company.

And that's only Asay's most recent open source experience. He has also been COO at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, and has served as well as the leads for open source strategy at Novell and for business development at Alfresco, the open source document management company.

Asay's move to Adobe doesn't involve open source as directly as his previous posts. As vice president of Mobile there, he'll be in a role that has more to do with big data, exploring new ways of analyzing machine-generated data from mobile devices and the Internet of Things to support Adobe's media and marketing products—or so he suggested in a recent blog post about the new position.

Still, Asay's open source experience will significantly inform his work at Adobe, too. "Will it include open source?" he wrote. "Of course ... every company necessarily involves open source now, because every company must appeal to developers."

And that's what makes this news worth noting. Adobe has never been remarkably engaged with the open source community. Sure, it has provided a modicum of Linux-compatible versions of its major software products, albeit often in a half-baked form, and it bought PhoneGap, an open source platform for mobile development, several years ago. It's not as if the company wants to make life miserable for anyone who believes software should assure that you get to decide what to do with your computer (or phone, or tablet), not vice versa. Adobe's not Apple (AAPL).

But Adobe has still, in general, been pretty low on the list of open source-friendly companies. In that regard, Asay's appointment to chief of the mobile division could open new paths for the company within the open source community. At a minimum, it can't hurt.

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