I'm a bit surprised at the angle the original article takes -- that a new feature in an alpha release broke some functionality is hardly news, and I don't see the privacy implications of this at all, when *everyone* ships Firefox with Mozilla+Google tracking (as has been mentioned elsewhere in the thread). Does even Debian disable this stuff? Seriously, MoCo has hundreds of people on full-time salary and still cannot find ways to spend their money fast enough. This is how it's funded. This isn't new and shouldn't be shocking... and if it is, then I don't see how Ubuntu is a reasonable target for that shock?
If I were a journalist, I'd probably connect this to the ongoing storyline that Ubuntu wants to do everything downstream (see also their new notification UI, session switching UI, etc.). Except here, not only are they diverting their own resources into making Ubuntu-specific improvements to Firefox's UI, they're also diverting user testing data and revenue that's currently going to Mozilla so that it goes to themselves instead. Mozilla doesn't have any inherent moral right to take Google's kick-backs over Ubuntu, but it's an interesting twist.