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

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 12 Aug 2008 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Mike Insults All Inventors

    I am aware that he is the subject of one infringement claim.

    Right. So aren't they guilty of stealing? Or are you inconsistent in your condemnation

    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.

    What does that have to do with anything? No one here has made any claims concerning patents other than you.

    And I note, with amusement, that you skipped over the question concerning just what these companies may have "stolen" from OLPC. As you are surely aware, their solution is entirely different than OLPCs.

    This has nothing to do with patents, but thanks for showing your ignorance.

    Their propaganda and your propaganda are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

    I'm assuming you mean companies who are pushing for patent reform. That's funny because as I've pointed out to you our positions are quite different. They supported the patent reform bill that went to Congress. I did not. They think that small changes can fix the patent system. I think we're better off throwing out the patent system entirely.

    Can you point to a single point we actually agree on?

    Or are you simply incapable of understanding these simple facts?

    I disagree with those companies and their position on patents. Might want to try getting that through your head.

    I think that Negroponte is an academic who was clueless about the shark infested business waters he wadded into.

    Hmm. Negroponte has been heavily involved in business operations before via the Media Lab. I think you underestimate Nick's experience.

    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.

    Well that shows a near total misunderstanding of how innovation and competition works -- but we've explained this to you. You have chosen not to understand because you personally profit from scaring inventors into supporting your "campaign."

    Anyway, you still haven't answered the question: how is what Intel is doing "infringing" on OLPC? It's a totally different product. It's competition. You haven't explained why it's not. I'm guessing because you have no answer.


    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.

    Again, you fail to explain why my views differ nearly completely with those firms.

    Funny. You fail to explain anything that shows you are wrong. I wonder why...

    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.

    Ah, there's the insult. I knew you'd go there sooner or later.

    Great formula: avoid the questions I asked. Don't add anything of substance and then accuse me of having my head up my ass.

    Very convincing.

    Virtually all your writings about patents are baseless accusations and insults against all American inventors.

    Really? You consider economic research by Nobel Prize winning economists "baseless"? You consider explaining to inventors how they can expand a market and make more money by eschewing patents "insults"?


    We know far more about the patent system than you ever will. We know more about the economics than you ever will.

    Ah, really? Then why is it that you seem to get the most basic facts wrong? Where is the economic research to counter the research I pointed to you? If you understand economics better than those Nobel prize winners, I'd love to see your economic research. It must be impressive.

    I'll be waiting patiently for your research. Or your apologies.

    But I'm guessing we'll be getting insults instead.

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