Well, Ubuntu/Canonical certified that Laptop, so that it gets a shiny Ubuntu sticker and can be sold as "Ubuntu certified".
I would expect at least some person from Canonical/Ubuntu to look at it before certifying it, so that there's an acceptable user experience available.
I have bought many (>10) Windows certified systems, and they all worked just fine.
It's the first time in my life that I bought a computer system that does not do what I expect it to do (bad battery life, fan running all the time, hardware/touchpad not working right - never had that before).
That's a pretty poor out of the box experience, isn't it?
And saying that the problem belongs to the manufacturer is not fair I think:
See http://www.canonical.com/engineering-services/oem-services/oem-services: Dell has at least booked the Standard package from there, which includes "Hardware enablement". Has Canonical made the hardware work, what it promises there to do? No! Has Canonical provided any fixes upstream? No.
The way it is I would not say that Ubuntu is a serious competitior to Windows. Back to the drawing board.