Canonical closes down Ubuntu One cloud file services

Recognizing that it can't keep up with the Dropboxes of the cloud storage world, Canonical elects to shut down its Ubuntu One file service.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Well, here's something you don't see every day: A company admitting that it can't keep up with the competition and closing down a service.

It was fun while it lasted but Canonical can't see continuing its Ubuntu One cloud file service with so many other low-cost, big-storage options in the market today.

Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, has realized that it can't keep up with Dropbox, Google Drive, and other inexpensive cloud file storage options so it's shutting down its Ubuntu One cloud file service.

Canonical introduced Ubuntu One in 2009 with the release of Ubuntu 9.10. The service offered 5GBs of storage. If you opted for the paid Ubuntu One Music service for $3.99 a month, you also got music streaming and additional 20GBs of storage.

If you follow personal cloud storage at all, you can already see the problem Canonical was running into: They weren't offering enough storage at a low enough price.

As Jane Silber, Canonical's CEO wrote in the company blog, "The free storage wars aren’t a sustainable place for us to be, particularly with other services now regularly offering 25GB-50GB free storage. If we offer a service, we want it to compete on a global scale, and for Ubuntu One to continue to do that would require more investment than we are willing to make. We choose instead to invest in making the absolute best, open platform and to highlight the best of our partners’ services and content."

So, as of April 2, 2014, "It will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music from the Ubuntu One store. The Ubuntu One file services will not be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, and the Ubuntu One apps in older versions of Ubuntu (and in the Ubuntu, Google, and Apple stores) will be updated appropriately. The current services will be unavailable after 1 June 2014; user content will remain available for download until 31 July, at which time it will be deleted."

Silber promises that "We will work to ensure that customers have an easy path to download all their content from Ubuntu One to migrate to other personal cloud services."

At least one open-source based cloud provider, ownCloud, is already working on a migration path for Ubuntu One users. I'm sure there will be others.

For programmers, Canonical will release the Ubuntu One code as open-source software so they can create their open-source file syncing platforms.

The irony of this move is that the enterprise side of Canonical is doing exceptionally well on the cloud. Ubuntu is the top operating system on OpenStack and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Still, on the personal/small business Infrastructure-as a-Service (IaaS)  cloud side, Canonical felt like it couldn't compete. As the price for corporate cloud storage continues to dive with the Google vs. Amazon price war and, as more and more personal cloud file storage options appear, I'm sure Canonical won't be the last company to drop its personal cloud storage program.

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