Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

Summary: It's been a bumpy twelve months for Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's business side, but the company is re-organizing as it hunts for more business server and desktop customers.


Canonical CEO Jane Silber (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Canonical CEO Jane Silber (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Ubuntu is a popular Linux with users, but it hasn't made as many in-roads in the business market as it would like. To address that Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, CEO Jane Silber has announced a major company reorganization.

Silber wrote, "Canonical has grown dramatically over the last several years. This growth is driven by increasing demand for our services and products by end users, businesses and partners, and by investment to deliver our part of the future of free software. As Ubuntu's position in the marketplace and as the leading free software platform has matured, we have needed change the way we align our teams internally. The purpose of these changes is to ensure greater efficiency for us, for the customers we serve and for the partners with whom we go to market."

These changes also, it should be noted, come after Canonical's CTO, Matt Zimmerman, left the firm in May. In addition, the company's Chief Operating Officer (COO), Matt Asay left Canonical late last year. Canonical was due for a major reorganization.

"Historically," Silber explained, "we have had three business units geared to match the customers and established ecosystems which Canonical, as a start up, needed to penetrate: enterprises who want services in support of Ubuntu deployments (Corporate Services), industry players who want to deploy and distribute Ubuntu on their machines (OEM Services), and end users who want web-based content and services on top of the free platform (Online Services)."

That was then. This is now. Today, Canonical is finding that many of its enterprise customers are also buying hardware at the same time they're switching over to Ubuntu. Therefore, since "our OEM partners and their corporate sales teams often introduce Ubuntu and Canonical to their customers. And of course at times OEMs are also our corporate customers, as the recent announcement of the HP Cloud based on Ubuntu demonstrates … our internal separation of sales and delivery of services to OEM and Corporate users began to make less sense."

Silber continued, "Therefore in order to better meet our customers' and partners' needs, we have brought together the sales and sales support teams of OEM and Corporate Services into a single Sales and Business Development team led by Chris Kenyon. Chris has been with the company for five years and has led many of our largest sales, as well as guiding our most significant partnerships."

Customer and partners support will now be handled by "a single Professional and Engineering Services team led by Jon Melamut. Steve George, formerly Canonical's VP of Business Development, "has added Product Management to his portfolio and now leads our Communications and Product Management teams."

At the same time, Canonical is consolidating the Ubuntu Software Center--Ubuntu's version of an app. store--work into our Online Services group under Cristian Parrino. Before this, "the Software Center was built and operated by a virtual team across the company, but we believe that the consolidated team will be able to respond more effectively to the extraordinary growth and interest in this outlet for application developers has generated."

Some things remain the same. Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth continues to lead overall Product Strategy and Rick Spencer will continue to lead the Ubuntu Engineering team. The entire team will be at the Ubuntu Developer Summit next week in Orlando, Florida to talk to Ubuntu's fans, customers, and partners.

Speaking as someone's who been watching Canonical and Ubuntu since day one, I think these are smart moves. Canonical has made it clear that they want to be a business player. With Red Hat already owning the Linux server market, they needed to refocus not just their technology but their business organization as well. As Asay tweeted, "This is such a welcome change. Centralizing functions like sales+PS will help a lot." He's right. It will.

Related Stories:

Ubuntu Linux will try for the business desktop

Ubuntu Linux 11.10: Unity comes of age (Review)

Ubuntu Linux heads to the clouds

Ubuntu Linux gets serious about business partners

Canonical switches to OpenStack for Ubuntu Linux cloud

Topics: Linux, CXO, Enterprise Software, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

    I hate reorgs. It always seems more like a way for the empire builders in any company to feather their own nests without any real benefit to the company or the employees. Maybe this one will be different.
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

      @khess <br><br>Well, this one *seems* to make sense. Much more sense than most re-orgs I've seen. Time will tell. I think it will mean more focus on the customer with the corporate and sales groups merged. Although from my experience, if sales gets to be in charge unchecked, it'll mean chasing trends rather than creating them.
  • Good move

    It's good to hear they recognise the need to adapt. I really hope it is successful as Ubuntu is my favourite OS out there.
  • Change is a constant[1]

    Recognizing changes and adjusting to fit new business conditions is paramount.

    Good Luck Canonical.

    [1] Life is subject to change
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
  • Any org hiring Matt Asay

    ... the snake oil salesman as COO is guaranteed to slump.
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

      What does that have to do with the topic.
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

    This is another sign that linux is in trouble. Re-orgs are expected in the enterprise, but not in some small mom and pop shop like Canonical. Management must be really upset that people are not using it after it was declared dead on the desktop by none other than SJVN. This makes me happy to see linux struggle, soon it will finally be over.
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes


      I think you're missing the point, though. They are reorganizing because they've moved past the "mom and pop" stage. They're growing. What works for the small company, e.g. distributed services, doesn't fly as well with a larger one.
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

      @LoverockDavidson_ wrote:
      "some small mom and pop shop like Canonical

      Here's a link to Canonical's global offices in Europe, North and South America, and Asia:

      And while it's true that Canonical is still chasing after the Linux consumer and enterprise desktop, the real determinant of their success will be in the server arena. Finally, in conformance with Cynical99's recommendation below, I "lambaste the idea". Just for good luck. ;)
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes


      If that's true, that Linux is in trouble, then you are declaring companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (who have invested heavily in Linux) on death's door too. How do you square that?
      Byt3 M3
      • RE: How do you square that?

        @Byt3 M3

        He can't.

        His memo from Ballmer laid out the `talking points`; and like your typical overseas customer <s>dis</s>service tech; </b>he has to follow the script.</b>

        Anyway, LD's comments are often fodder for afternoon breaks here in our Linux shop.
  • Steven's approval, the kiss of death

    I've read Steven for a number of years and it seems that every time he hypes something as a good idea, it's the kiss of death.

    Do Canonical a favor and lambaste the idea, your approvals always mean the idea is a complete loser.
    • Talk about losers.....


      Another great article Steven...keep 'em coming!
      linux for me
      • Yes, and every product or change he champions goes in the takn

        @linux for me <br><br>You know, the super cheapTablets that were supposed to destroy Apple, the desk top operating system that was supposed to destroy MS.<br><br>The interesting one will be Android. It has an oh so slim chance of surviving, but if my experience with Android is any indication, Apple will remain light years ahead for a very long time. Oh so slim you say? that'll depend on the patent litigation and if vendors stick with Google who is now a competitor through Motorola. Ahhhhh, so many twists and turns in the soap opera!<br><br>No, Steven typically picks losers. Not always, but I'd say around 90% of the time so if Steven picks something it's a pretty safe bet to go against. You know, negative luck, that's Steven!
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

    I Canonical should buy HP PC and tablet company if they could afford it.
  • Oh please

    Could anybody cite some examples of corporate reorg/restructure that made a tangible difference to the firm or its consumers, please? I can't think of one.
  • RE: Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, reorganizes

    @NCWeber - @LoverockDavidson_ is not missing the point, he's purposefully distorting it to give him a pretext for more Linux bashing. He's a troll whose never had a useful or contructive comment. Don't feed him.

    @LoverockDavidson_ - if Canonical is a mom-n-pop shop, nothing it does, from re-org to complete collapse, could possible have any impact on the future of Linux. You contradict yourself.