A statement released by Canonical describes the collaboration as part of AT&T's effort to forge the "network of the future," which involves building more modular solutions that can scale readily and which take advantage of open source code.
The companies have not revealed specifics of how they will work together, but Canonical "will provide the Ubuntu OS and engineering support for AT&T’s cloud, network and enterprise applications," it said in a statement.
Canonical executives are celebrating the news as a sign of Ubuntu's fitness for deployment in the cloud. "AT&T's scalable and open future network utilizes the best of Canonical innovation," said John Zannos, vice president of Cloud Alliances and Business Development at Canonical. "AT&T selecting us to support its effort in cloud, enterprise applications and the network provides the opportunity to innovate with AT&T around the next generation of the software-centric network and cloud solutions. Ubuntu is the Operating System of the Cloud and this relationship allows us to bring our engineering expertise around Ubuntu, cloud and open source to AT&T."
AT&T Assistant Vice President of Cloud Technology, Strategy and Planning, Toby Ford, added, "Open source and OpenStack innovations represent a unique opportunity to meet these requirements and Canonical’s cloud and open source expertise make them a good choice for AT&T."
Without more details on exactly which elements of Canonical's software solutions and engineering expertise AT&T will leverage, it's hard to know at this point how the companies will work together. And Canonical is presumably only one of many partners that AT&T is using as it builds the next generation of its infrastructure. Still, for Canonical, which remains relatively small and in some ways is still experimenting with revenue models more than a decade after its founding, a partnership with AT&T is significant news.