Tag Archives: OLPC

Did the big boys really kill OLPC?


The UK’s Timesonline is running a story today showing us that, despite internal strife, questionable morals and ideals, and now, the inclusion of Windows XP on a computer that was supposed to embody all that was good in open source, OLPC remains a media darling.

The article is heavy on drama:

Microsoft, makers of most of the computer software in the world, tried to kill it with words, and Intel, maker of most computer chips, tried to kill it with dirty tricks. Of course, they don’t admit to being attempted murderers. And when I introduce you to Intel’s lovely spokesperson, Agnes Kwan, you’ll realise how far their denials go. But the truth is the two mightiest high-tech companies in the world looked on Negroponte’s philanthropic scheme and decided it had to die.

Well, of course Microsoft and Intel wouldn’t take the project sitting down. Are they the real reasons behind it’s inflated price tag and lagging orders? Or was it unrealistic expectations from Negroponte, with his millions of expected sales in the first year? Or was it simply the wrong audience? Negroponte courted Microsoft for a long time and repeatedly talked about Windows support on the XO, only to have Microsoft spokespeople say, “Sorry, not yet.”

Intel targeted communities in which some degree of infrastructure and a reasonable educational facilities already existed; Negroponte wanted everyone to have an XO, regardless of whether their basic needs were being met. Intel partnered with local OEMs to create jobs and customize their Classmates for specific regions. OLPC tried to compete with the Dells and HPs of the world.

Did Negroponte create an exploding market and inspire powerful companies to address unmet needs? You bet. Did the big boys really do him in or did the XO simply fall prey to bad management and a flawed strategy?

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Microsoft makes it official – XP is coming to the XO OLPC


Microsoft’s participation in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative has been fraught with mystery and disinformation from the get-go. But on May 15, Microsoft officials finally gave the OLPC project Redmond’s official blessing.

Up to this point, OLPC Chief Nicholas Negroponte preannounced Microsoft’s every move on the OLPC front (and sometimes not quite correctly). But on May 15, Microsoft and the OLPC announced in tandem that Microsoft is “joining” the OLPC project.

Yet again, exactly what this means is a bit murky. Microsoft has been testing for months now whether it could get XP to run on OLPC XO laptops. Seemingly, according to a new blog entry by James Utzschneider, Manager of Microsoft’s Developing Markets Unit, the tests were successful. But now it sounds like there are going to be more tests. From Utzschneider’s May 15 blog post:

“Today Microsoft and the OLPC are announcing support for Windows on the OLPC XO computer.The two organizations will work together on several pilot programs in emerging market countries starting next month, and the offering will RTM in August or September. Initially it will only be available in emerging market countries where governments or NGOs are subsidizing the purchase of a large number of PCs for students, but there is the possibility of making this available for other customers through a broader set of channels at a later point in time.”

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How about Microsoft investing in OLPC and releasing a low-cost laptop for the masses?


Now here is an interesting question. Since Microsoft is dealing with bad PR, in relation to Vista, what would happen if Microsoft put its full support behind OLPC and installed a version of Windows XP? XP SP2 is pretty much a solid Operating System and it really would not cost much for Microsoft to even load OLPC with an embedded or starter version. Imagine releasing a bunch of low-cost laptops to the world, in addition with the North American market. With the emergence of Eee PC and a host of other low-cost laptops, people are realizing that it really does not cost that much to “get-online”. Lets be honest, these machines are not for running high-end productivity and gaming applications. However, if you simply need to get online, check your email and get a little processing power, then why not. I am not sure if this would really fly in North America, but with the environment becoming such a hot issue, people are starting to realize that we consume too much. With everyone wanting to be portable and wi-fi slowly becoming available to the masses; a product like this could fill a small gap, for people who cannot afford high-priced laptops and notebooks. Maybe manufacturers like Dell, HP and others will look at the technology and try to develop low-cost products of their own. It definitely would be interesting to see what will happen.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Read details from another article about OLPC below.

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