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), 13 Aug 2008 @ 3:20am

    Re: On The Issue Of Competition - We won - You lost!

    Think about how inventors have been the wild card in the Patent Deform fight.

    You and the Coalition for Patent Fairness & Piracy both promote Patent Reform. Inventors oppose it.


    Um. Ronald, how many times must I repeat this before it gets through your skull:

    I WAS AGAINST (AGAINST!) THE PATENT REFORM BILL.

    I've pointed that out repeatedly, even in the comment above that you are responding to.

    Yet, you claim I was for it. Stunning.

    You can read my original post when it was announced: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070418/161925.shtml

    I was and remained against it.

    So Mike, how do you explain that inspire of all your posturing we won and your side lost?

    How is it my side when I was against it?

    In the meantime, I will point out that, despite my repeated questioning, you have not responded to the point: what about what Intel or MS is doing violates anything patentable that OLPC did? You are refusing to answer this question because you know the answer is "absolutely nothing." They simply went after the same market with an entirely different product.

    And as you well know, offering a different product in the same market isn't violating a patent.

    Again, I'll ask you to apologize for getting your comments so incredibly wrong, but I (again) know that will never come.

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