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
    Charbax, 12 Aug 2008 @ 7:25pm

    Kids aren't getting the laptops

    "" Or more blatant, Intel has been selling their
    "" classmate in low quantities at a loss.
    "
    " Um, wouldn't that mean that kids get laptops
    " for even lower amounts? Isn't that the goal
    " of this project? Or must the laptops come
    " from Nick Neg?
    " (...)
    " You know who benefits from all this? The kids
    " getting those cheap laptops.

    The kids are _not_ getting laptops, thanks to Intel's efforts in killing One Laptop Per Child efforts.

    Don't you understand it?

    Intel does not want kids to get laptops.

    Why would Intel have any interest giving $100 laptops to millions of children?

    Why would Intel be interested in loosing money on each sale of a laptop, why would Intel be interested in lowering the cost of laptops to children?

    Why would Intel be interested in supporting a movement into year-2000 type processors, ram, memory powering laptops not only for children in third world countries, but your next laptop and anyones next productivity laptop in the developed world.

    Don't you, Mike of tech dirt, understand that Intel and Microsoft have been feeding you people with one generation of bloatware after the other, keeping the price of laptops and PCs artificially high all these years? Haven't you seen how slugish, how slow Windows Vista runs, and all the BS they feed you people about having to buy faster processors, more ram, more memory to run the exact same programs you've had since the beginning of the Internet? (it's not like the browser have or need to change that much in terms of hardware requirements).

    Don't you understand Intel wants to STOP or DELAY any attempt at making expensive Intel processors irrelevant? And that Intel is going to do this even if that requires stopping millions of children in developping countries from accessing the Internet using different type of cheaper lower power laptops?

    Look at the facts, Intel CEO Craig Barret took a helicopter to meet the politicians in Nigeria, small talk with those, tell them to NOT buy any OLPC XO-1 laptop. Then Craig Barret proceeded to give 5'000 Classmates free of charge to the Nigerian officers, saying something like these are samples for them to test.

    Truth is, since then NOT ONE NIGERIAN CHILD has seen any other laptop. Intel has no plan to distribute 10s of millions of low power low cost laptops to Nigeria nor any other African country at below $100 per laptop or even below $200. If Intel sells laptops, just maybe, will they do it at $400, but only under the condition that $400 laptop has nothing to do with current lines of commercially available Intel based laptops.

    Look at the Intel Atom based netbook, it is limited at small form factors, cause Intel has no interest in $400 laptops having the same screen size and same form factor as Intel's preferred $1000 price point in laptops. Thus they do not allow any laptop manufacturer put a 15" screen on an Intel Atom based laptop, they do NOT allow any PCI-express connection, NO DVD drive allowed, hard drive capacity is limited. Exactly same requirements to use Windows XP, did you guys at Tech dirt not ready the announcement by Microsoft as for them setting up the conditions for laptop manufacturers being allowed to use Windows XP since June?

    And don't say that it is good that the children aren't getting laptops. Don't have that "Food or clothes or water is more important" argument. If that's you argument, then stop posting to your blog, since that would mean that you don't see anything positive or constructive in using the Internet.

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