Canonical is a great company. They have done more than many companies to spread Free Software around the planet. Despite their good effects for Free Software they are still a business and reflect on their bottom line. That’s a bit obscure but Mark Shuttleworth released a few interesting details in an interview:
- They could be profitable in short order if they abandoned the desktop because servers and clouds are so lucrative…
- At the moment revenue streams from both clients and servers are comparable but servers are growing rapidly…
- Then the bombshells:
- One of Dell, HP, and Lenovo are shipping 20% of volume with Ubuntu GNU/Linux!
- Next year, another of them will do that, and
- the third should do that sooner or later.
“I think folks in the States don’t have a lot of visibility into the amount of diversity in the PC world outside of the US," Shuttleworth said. "But if you look across the major vendors, Dell, HP, Lenovo, one of them will ship more than 20 percent of their volume globally with Ubuntu this year. Another one has committed to do the same next year, and the third, we think, will head in the same direction sooner rather than later.”
So, in the long term, pouring money into Canonical could be a great investment. Mark Shuttleworth will continue to do it or not but he has lit a fire. That many millions of PCs makes a difference. HP, Dell and Lenovo move about 30 million PCs each quarter, about 45%. 20% of that is 9% of PCs shipped, about 6 million PCs per quarter, 24 million per annum. Hey! They are not the only OEMs shipping GNU/Linux! Still think GNU/Linux is languishing at ~1% share of page-views? We’ve lately seen big pops in the web stats, possibly because of these shipments.
My vote would be for Dell or Lenovo as Ubuntu’s front-runners. HP is too pricey for most. HP will follow if they see Dell and Lenovo increasing share of PCs shipped.