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
    bigpicture, 11 Aug 2008 @ 4:02pm

    Competition?

    Don't even call this journalism because it isn't. This subject has already been beat to death in just about every communication medium.

    MS and Intel do not want market penetration of their respective monopolies. The OLPC is about getting technology into the hands of the disadvantaged, not about mega profits. It is a charitable or not-for-profit operation if you will.

    That is entirely different from what Intel and MS is up to, which is not let anything else get market share, or even market awareness, even if this means giving their product away in this particular market at a loss.

    So where is the competition there? Where is the get the facts Journalism? What do you think the MS tactic is to compete against Open Source? How do you undercut free? Threat, intimidation and monopolistic contracts with the OEM PC installers. Anything but "free market" competition. How about some real "free market" journalism.

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