That word is alliances.
In terms of cloud computing the new Ubuntu koala is cuddly with Amazon's cloud, as Mark Asay notes. Whether that makes things more open or closed, the fact is Amazon's EC2 cloud is currently dominating the space.
It's open for business, it's ready for your apps, today. It's not like Google's cloud, devoted solely to Google applications, and it's not like Microsoft's cloud, devoted to Windows, and it's not like IBM's clouds, custom-built like a new global subdivision.
Amazon's cloud is a service businesses use to host serious applications, many of which make money. Standing at the side of such a cloud vendor is good business.
As to the desktop, Shuttleworth specifically cites one Netbook vendor, Dell, in his note. This is mainly for the sake of a pun, but the fact remains that Dell has a full line of Ubuntu Netbooks and laptops.
This is important. Few Linux vendors want to dance the corporate dance. Yet corporations insist on it, and such technology alliances give buyers comfort.
Ubuntu has managed alliances with two companies which make money doing what they do. Amazon makes money in cloud computing, Dell is still profitable.
At the bottom of a recession those are the kinds of friends you want to have, and Ubuntu has them. Now if it can extract money from those relationships it's set.