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
    Ronald J Riley (profile), 12 Aug 2008 @ 5:36pm

    Mike Insults All Inventors

    "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?"

    I am aware that he is the subject of one infringement claim. Meanwhile members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness & Piracy, aka the Piracy Coalition are collectively guilty of thousands of liberties with other's patent properties. They have been caught red handed with their sticky fingers in other's patent cookie jars. Their propaganda and your propaganda are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

    I think that Negroponte is an academic who was clueless about the shark infested business waters he wadded into. He was an idealistic and ignorant academic who shunned patents. He has now learned the hard way about the real purpose of patents. Patents protect young inventive companies from big predators. That is why those predators formed the Coalition for Patent Fairness. They want to set a standard of "fairness" where they can take what they want with impunity.

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

    I most certainly am not afraid to compete. The patent system is all about encouraging competition. It does so by encouraging a competitor to invent an alternative. If they can compete by producing their own inventions that is fine by me. What they should not be able to do is steal other's inventions for their own profit. If OLPC had been conducting it's business with an eye towards patent protection they would not today be on a path to expiring with a whimper!

    "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."

    Perhaps the point I am trying to make is that I have been in this business for many years and seen no end of sleazy tactics by patent thieves. You constantly deny any connection and they do the same. You and they both spew the same drivel. I know not to believe them, and I think that there is good reason to apply the policy to you.

    In any event, lets say that you are not a corporate stooge. I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and fall back to the second possibility that you have your head stuck someplace where you simply cannot see the truth.

    "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."

    Mike, it is you who are constantly spewing rubbish about inventors and about the invention process. Now you may be lying or you may simply be hopelessly ignorant.

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

    Virtually all your writings about patents are baseless accusations and insults against all American inventors. Rather it is to your ignorance of the system or who is buttering your bread really does not matter. You are insulting us. That includes Nobel and Hall of Fame inventors.

    We know far more about the patent system than you ever will. We know more about the economics than you ever will. Yet you constantly come back with smart assed responses and then wonder why we disrespect you.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

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