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. icon
    Mike (profile), 12 Aug 2008 @ 2:37pm

    Re: If Only OLPC Had Patents

    Mr. Negroponte has learned a lesson which every inventor understands, and that lesson is that in the absence of patents that transnational sharks will lie, cheat, and steal other's work. No patents equals no recourse!

    Hmm. I would think offering a better product in the marketplace and beating the competitors there is pretty good recourse.

    You don't?

    Now if Mr. Negroponte had used patents he could be suing these companies and funded his vision with the proceeds. As it is he and his vision will expire with a whimper. Transnational corporate public relations will flood media with their propaganda and in a mater of years he and his efforts will be mostly forgotten.

    Actually, apparently you haven't been paying attention, because OLPC is getting sued for patent infringement itself.

    Why aren't you accusing Negroponte of being a thief?

    Now if he had obtained patent protection and had the gall to hold these companies accountable for their predatory conduct they would be using their public relations people and all the shills and corporate stooges who operate on their behalf to paint Mr. Nicholas Negroponte as one of those mythical and vicious patent trolls.

    Interesting. So by *competing* by offering a totally different product, you believe that Intel and Microsoft somehow stole from Negroponte? Can you point to what they "stole" from Negroponte? I'm really curious.

    The reality is that many of the companies who have shamelessly high jacked both the vision and the business

    How do you hijack a vision? Isn't that just called competition?

    Why are you so anti-competition Ron? Afraid to compete?

    So tell me Mike, whose trough are you feeding from, or is the problem ignorance and having one's head stuck so far up where the daylight doesn't shine that you will never be capable of sorting out right from wrong?

    I've answered this question multiple times. I have nothing to hide. We do not receive any money for any public advocacy concerning the patent system or anything along those lines. Neither Intel nor Microsoft is a client of Techdirt and they never have been. So I'm not sure what point you think you're trying to make.

    You make accusations all the times and I've pointed out that you are wrong. Yet you insist on still making them. At this point I can only conclude that you enjoy lying.

    I would suggest an apology would be appropriate, but somehow I know it's not forthcoming. Instead, I'll expect baseless accusations and insults.

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