Will Nicholas Negroponte Ever Understand That Competition Isn't About Killing OLPC?

from the get-over-it dept

We've never quite understood Nicholas Negroponte's position when it comes to the $100 Laptop/OLPC/XO (whatever it's called these days). While the idea behind creating a super cheap, super durable useful computer for children in developing nations is good, Negroponte has always approached the idea as one where only he should be allowed to see that vision through. When other companies decided it might be a good idea and wanted to target that market themselves, Negroponte flipped out and started attacking them for trying to undermine his project.

Sorry, Nicholas, but competition isn't undermining.

In fact, competition is generally what drives all parties to be better at what they do, in order to fend off the competition. Yet, somehow, the UK's Times Online has bought into Negroponte's side of the story and written up an article bashing Microsoft and Intel for trying to "kill" the OLPC. The article is riddled with factual errors and opinion substituting as fact, but the worst is in the central point of the article. The author mistakes companies all aiming for the same market as a nefarious attempt to "kill off" Negroponte's pet project -- as if he has some universal right to the market that no one else can attempt to enter. It also brushes over some simple facts, like the one where many countries have looked at the OLPC and realized it doesn't really serve their needs just yet. That, if anything, should be even more reason why competition is necessary. It helps create better products that actually serve the needs of people in those markets, rather than just what Negroponte decides they must want in his top-down manner.

Filed Under: competition, execution, ideas, nicholas negroponte, olpc
Companies: amd, intel, microsoft, olpc


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2008 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Lets be fair

    It just seems strange that Microsoft (whos OS Mr Negroponte doesnt use) would unite with intel (whos chip architecture Mr Negroponte doesnt use) to work on a philanthropic project very similar to the one Mr Negropontes team has been working on for a decade now, yet never seek to consult or work with him or his team in anyway, seems a little strange. Offering an alternative in the marketplace can be a very beneficial thing, but so can truly uniting to solve a problem that the market just hasn’t taken care of yet (Healthcare in the US for example). It’s just slightly suspicious Microsoft and Intel chose the latter route (if their intentions really are largely altruistic here). Frankly I think it’s also a little suspicious that you give absolutely no credence to any questioning of motives regarding Microsoft and Intel here? I am not saying that I believe Microsoft and Intel are trying to kill Mr Negropontes project, but I am saying your seeming “shock” at the mere suggestion of such an idea, seems a little over done.

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