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Adobe reclaims design guru from Microsoft

Mark Hamburg, instrumental to building Photoshop and Lightroom, has returned to Adobe after working on Microsoft operating system usability.

A high-powered programmer who'd left Adobe Systems to lead a Microsoft Windows interface design team is heading back after just over a year.

Mark Hamburg had worked on Adobe Photoshop since version 2.0 in 1990 and then was instrumental in designing its photography-specific cousin, Lightroom, which sports a radically different user interface.

Hamburg left Adobe for Microsoft in 2008 to become a "distinguished engineer" leading work on improving operating system usability. He called the job an opportunity that "was a little too interesting to turn down" because he found the Windows' experience "really annoying."

On Friday, Adobe's German public relations staff welcomed Hamburg back in a Twitter post. Added Lightroom programmer Troy Gaul, "Glad to have Mark Hamburg back at Adobe. Looking forward to his renewed impact on our products."

Jeff Schewe, a Photoshop consultant who knows Hamburg, said the Adobe engineer again will work in Adobe's digital imaging department.

"His decision to return to Adobe is more a statement of desire to again work on products in the digital imaging realm rather than a more research driven project," Schewe said in a blog post. Hamburg isn't expected to be working on Lightroom again, though, Schewe added.