A blog entry over on ZDnet makes the case that Amazon.com and Dell are Canonical's two most important Ubuntu partners. I firmly agree. Here's why.

Dell's support of Ubuntu was a key reason why we launched WorksWithU. When Dell announced its first Ubuntu desktops in mid-2007 -- the very year Microsoft shipped Windows Vista -- Nine Lives Media Inc. (WorksWithU's parent) realized Ubuntu was very likely the real deal.

Yes, we know small Ubuntu PC makers like ZaReason and System76 have earned loyal followings and praise from Ubuntu users. But Dell's entry into the market was a wake-up call for the PC industry and even for Microsoft.

We quietly beta tested an Ubuntu news site -- called All About Ubuntu -- for about a year, before branding around WorksWithU in mid-2008. Dell's move into the Ubuntu market convinced us this was a market in need of a media brand that educates readers about ongoing Ubuntu trends.

Ubuntu 9.10 for the Clouds

Now comes word that Ubuntu 9.10, slated for delivery in October 2009, will leverage Amazon's cloud services. MSPmentor (a WorksWithU sister site) closely tracks Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). MSPmentor believes VARs and managed service providers will shift their customers to on-premise systems (such as Ubuntu servers, desktops and netbooks) blended with cloud services (such as EC2).

Money Matters

ZDnet says Amazon's cloud service is actually profitable. I haven't been able to confirm that on my own. But even if the service is losing money at the moment, Amazon's cloud is growing fast and seems to leverage a solid business model that will generate recurring revenue and profits for years to come. Meanwhile, Dell remains one of the strongest brands in IT -- despite recent stumbles that have trigged quarterly losses from time to time.

ZDnet is right: Canonical's two most important partners -- for the moment -- certainly appear to be Amazon and Dell.

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