I recall a few years ago they were touting eucalyptus as this fabulous cloud base. Do you know what happened when some people took a look at eucalyptus? They (nasa) said, no, this won't scale, so they started a project called nebula. Later that project merged with rackspace's openstack. Now, openstack has a chance to succeed and somehow ubuntu is the default image. I've no idea why, but there it is, and no, I don't think canonical has contributed much, if anything, to openstack. Frankly, suse would've been the smart option but who knows what will be happening with them in the future. Moreover, I think either, 1)the default image isn't important, 2)something else will be chosen to replace ubuntu. Now I mention this to demonstrate thay canonical's engineering vision isn't exactly proven, thus why I have doubts.
As for return on investment, i don't think they have yet been in the black, let alone made enough to recover shuttleworth's millions.