EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, said that he is “very confident that large manufacturers are looking seriously at Ubuntu as the new open platform of choice”, following the recent announcement that it is working with two small players – bq and Meizu – to bring the first smartphones using the platform to market.
Speaking to Mobile World Live at Mobile World Congress, he said: “We are engaged in behind-the-scenes conversations with a full spectrum of manufacturers, including another very significant manufacturer that previously had its own platform play.”
With regard to its new partners, Shuttleworth described them as “market makers”, who “know how to break into well established, well entrenched markets” – Europe for bq, and China for Meizu. “Europe is interesting to us because it’s so diverse as a market, and China’s interesting because of the scale,” he said.
With regard to Canonical charging a licensing fee to use the Ubuntu platform in a mobile device, there had been “no push-back from manufacturers”, the executive said. “They understand that platforms have an intrinsic cost associated with them, so ours is open source, Android is open source, but there are costs associated with both.”
And he also said that Canonical’s work with operators in the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory group had “really helped shape our thinking about what a launch has to look like, how to be successful.”
“We’ve noticed that some of the other new-entrants to the market have very high return rates, for example, with their devices. So if you are going into the market and 40 per cent of your devices are coming back, that’s a disaster,” he noted.
Watch the full interview here.