AT&T is moving away from proprietary systems and stepping toward Canonical Ltd.'s open-source operating system Ubuntu.

Canonical announced the news in a blog post, saying it is joining forces with AT&T to provide its Ubuntu OS and engineering support for the carrier's cloud, network and enterprise applications.

The companies disclosed that the partnership is significant in coming up with Ubuntu-based apps across the internal and external systems of AT&T.

John Zannos, Canonical's vice president of Cloud Alliances and Business Development, believes that the collaboration with AT&T "provides the opportunity to innovate with AT&T around the next generation of the software-centric network and cloud solutions."

Zannos also said that teaming up with one of the leading carriers in the United States could enable the company to bring its expertise on Ubuntu, cloud and open source to AT&T.

"By tapping into the latest technologies and open principles, AT&T's network of the future will deliver what our customers want, when they want it," says Toby Ford, assistant vice president of Cloud Technology, Strategy and Planning at AT&T. "We're reinventing how we scale by becoming simpler and modular, similar to how applications have evolved in cloud data centers."

Ford added that OpenStack and open-source innovations are a good opportunity in meeting the said requirements. Furthermore, he said that the cloud and open source expertise of Canonical make the company a great partner for AT&T.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that Canonical's new relationship with AT&T could allow it to pursue its plan to build the Ubuntu-powered smartphone that could come packed with desktop-grade apps. The phone could also be connected to keyboards and large displays.

Zannos said that this is a good chance for Canonical to deepen its relationship with AT&T.

"I can't predict what doors will open," he said in an interview with WSJ.

Meanwhile, Akshay Sharma, Gartner's research director for network infrastructure, said that traditional companies have to make use of an open-source technology utilized by their younger rivals so as not to be left behind in the race.

Sharma believes that the real competition for AT&T is not the other carriers, but companies like Facebook, Google and Apple.

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