I used to look a lot at the job offers on Ubuntu.com, as many times the job offers from a company tell a lot about the direction the company is going. It uses to be very interesting, as you can see how much effort is put into launchpad, Ubuntu mobile, or sometimes even learn about new projects before they get announced (in fact I even found my current job there, as companies proposing jobs related to Ubuntu are allowed to advertise there).
However, I was a bit saddened that a very large part of these jobs were non-technical or not really benefiting the community: business development, sales consultant, system administrators for Canonical's servers, launchpad developer, support, ... it was fueling the idea that some other communities criticized in the past that Canonical was only packaging and selling other people's work, without creating much added value. I am a pretty strong opponent of launchpad and landscape closed-sourceness myself...
So, I was really thrilled to see that Canonical was now hiring a "Desktop Architect - Network experience" person, and a "Desktop Architect – Sound Experience" person. Add this to the few offers from October which sadly are still there (Gnome developper, OpenGL developper), and it seems to me that Canonical finally decided to pass the second gear.
I was a bit afraid to see Canonical go in so many directions (Ubuntu mobile, ARM support, Ubuntu netbook remix, ubuntu server) - so I must say I am very happy to see that Canonical is still committed to providing the best Desktop experience, ever ;)
I wouldn't go as far as saying that it is related to Ayatana, but who knows... Really looking forward to what will come out of all this now! A working network manager, anyone? ;)
+1 The future looks bright for desktop Linux.
If you know someone who has the skills for any of the available jobs at Canonical, please do encourage them to apply.