A couple of weeks ago, Google sent the prices for its cloud storage on a free fall. Its $5/mo for 100GB option suddenly became $2/mo, and the ultra-attractive 1TB tier became $10/mo. In our respective post, I said, “you’d imagine with this kind of rock-bottom pricing, the competition would have to react” – and now, we’re seeing the first major reaction.
Citing the inability to compete with the big guys, Canonical has decided to shutter Ubuntu One, its cloud service which launched just under five-years-ago. Jane Silber, Canonical’s CEO, has said, “The free storage wars aren’t a sustainable place for us to be, particularly with other services now regularly offering 25GB-50GB free storage.“
Canonical had been outsourcing its storage needs to Amazon, but it seems obvious that the prices it had to pay there made the entire Ubuntu One system unattractive from a business perspective. In effect, the company would be earning very little on its cloud solutions. The reason Google can get by so easily is because it needs people to keep wrapped into its ecosystem; Google monetizes user information and behavior, whereas Ubuntu does not.
I never took advantage of Ubuntu One, but I do consider it to be unfortunate that it’s closing down. Ubuntu remains a very important Linux distribution, so it’s a little sad to see one of its major components shutting-down. On the upside for consumers, competition is still very fierce, and Google’s Drive can still be used under the OS (albeit not without workarounds – come on Google, release that Linux client!). If Google Drive isn’t a great option, there are still others, such as Dropbox.
RIP, Ubuntu One.