Canonical Shutters Ubuntu One
Canonical announced today that they will be shutting down the Ubuntu One file service, and that customers will no longer be able to sign up for new accounts or purchase music from Ubuntu One. Citing increasing levels of free service from competitors, and the desire to concentrate on their core service, Canonical announced that the service will remain operational until June 1st, 2014, with the availability to download data till July 31st, after which all customer data will be deleted.
Ubuntu One was initially launched in 2009 and was a direct competitor to Dropbox, and later, Google Drive. In September of 2011, Ubuntu One launched a music store, offering a small catalog of DRM-free music. In 2013, Ubuntu Single Sign-on was rebranded under the Ubuntu One title. Unfortunately, Ubuntu was unable to capitalize on the opportunity the cloud services provided, had has been forced out of the market.
Canonical has been attempting for the past several years to build their company as a competitor to Microsoft, Apple, and now, Google. Offering cloud services in addition to the Ubuntu desktop was an attempt to expand the Ubuntu ecosystem and provide the end user with an expected suite of capabilities. Apple users have iCloud, Microsoft has OneDrive, and of course Google has an entire platform of cloud based tools. Ubuntu One was a unifying platform that could ease new users into the Linux desktop.
However, Ubuntu One was unable to offer any single service any better than it's competitors. The music catalog was woefully inadequate, and could not compare with offerings from Amazon, or cloud based providers like Rdio. The storage offerings eventually fell far behind the free tiers offered by Dropbox and Google. Ubuntu One was a system full of promise that never quite matured into the product that either the users or Canonical expected it to be.
In the end, Canonical's decision to shutter Ubuntu One and concentrate on developing Ubuntu will probably prove to be the right move. Canonical is nowhere near the size of their competitors, and the resources that went into Ubuntu One could be better spent focusing on their core product. Canonical narrowing their focus on the Ubuntu desktop allows their users to choose the best of breed cloud services to go along with their desktop experience, which, clearly, is what was going on anyway.