Ubuntu for Business: Canonical Makes Major Hire
Is Canonical serious about pushing Ubuntu into businesses? The company’s latest corporate move provides a clear answer. Indeed, Canonical has hired Matt Asay (pictured) — one of the open source industry’s best-known names — as its new chief operating officer. The move comes amid a CEO shift and several major product initiatives at Canonical. Here are some perspectives.
Why? Asay is the rare blogger who continually focuses on open source business matters, rather than fanboy debates. Most recently, Asay was VP of business development at Alfresco — the fast-growing provider of open source content management software.
Bigger Opportunities, Bigger Challenges
Why did Asay jump from Alfresco to Canonical? Hmmm… The VAR Guy hasn’t spoken with Asay directly (yet) about the move. Here’s what Asay had to say on his own blog.
But let’s cut to the chase: Alfresco was an application-level initiative. Ubuntu potentially represents a broader industry play — ranging from mobile devices all the way up to enterprise servers and cloud computing. Big stuff. Big challenges. Big opportunities.
Can Canonical deliver on its broad initiatives? Hmmm… New CEO Jane Silber has at least nine immediate priorities, according to The VAR Guy’s own estimates. For starters, the CEO transition from Mark Shuttleworth to Silber needs to go smoothly. And the anticipated April 2010 launch of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) needs to go flawlessly.
Some Canonical efforts — including an ISV push — seem to be gaining momentum. But there’s lots more work to be done, especially when it comes to marketing and channel partner initiatives. That’s where Asay enters the picture. At Canonical, Asay will be:
“Responsible for aligning strategic goals and operational activities, the optimization of day-to-day operations, and leadership of Canonical marketing and back-office functions.
Most recently VP, Business Development for Alfresco, Asay has been involved with open source since 1998, and is one of the industry’s leading open source business strategists.”
Asay also has extensive experience in the Linux market. Prior to joining Alfresco, Asay was one of the founding members of Novell’s Linux Business Office in 2002 and was an early influencer and participant in the company’s shift to open source, his bio notes.
Of course, The VAR Guy needs to keep the news in perspective. Asay is a sharp guy with a serious Rolodex. And he understands the business of open source. Canonical has big ambitions. But ultimately, Canonical is striving to compete with some of the world’s biggest software competitors.
The VAR Guy will be watching.