One Laptop Per Child & The Cry babies


Everyone from Nicholas Negroponte to Microsoft to Intel wants to help the poor kids in emerging economies by giving them a laptop, a phone or some frankendevice. No one seems to ask the question if the kids actually need it, especially when food and water should be higher on the priority list.

As we wrote earlier, “What is a kid who goes to a school with rampant teacher absenteeism, no infrastructure to speak of –like desks, fans or electricity to run those fans –going to do with a laptop?”

However noble these ambitions be, these are skewed elitist plans… but I don’t want to get political here. What is amusing is that how each one of the promoters is dissing each other – Negroponte recently complained about Intel being Intel on 60 Minutes, and accused Intel of undermining his one laptop per child plan with the $200-Classmate device. (Not that I think Intel is without blame .)

AMD, which is providing chips to the OLPC initiative, didn’t waste any time sending out a press alert pointing fingers at Intel.

We view Negroponte’s comments and observations as “Intel being Intel” and agree that they serve as another point supporting our claims of Intel’s abusive anti-trust practices for which they were found guilty of in Japan. As you know, AMD filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Intel in U.S. federal court. The European Union is also likely to share the conclusions of their exhaustive investigation of Intel’s business practices in the very near future as well.

Easy to over look his anger, but Intel’s device seems to cost more, so can’t be undermining OLPC. Secondly, since this seems to be a mission of charity (and not a play for Nobel Peace Prize), Negroponte should be happy that others are willing to follow his lead, and get more of these frankendevices into the hands of more and more kids.

Don’t blame me for thinking – what a bunch of crybabies!


Om Malik


If you are making the point that INtel is being ruthless and predatory and using their cash to slow down OLPC: shame on them.

I think you are missing the point in my argument – which has been constant for the longest time – there is a lot more which needs to be taken care of before these devices make sense to the kids.

You allege that I am contrarian for the sake of being one – good. Except that it has been my consistent view that OLPC (regardless of the flavor being promoted) doesn’t take into the ground realities of the countries these devices are supposed to go.

Pablo earlier mentioned, that in Uruguay these laptops are having a positive impact. I have not been to Uruguay so can’t speak for that country. If it is working and increasing school attendance and other aspects of child development, that is fantastic news.

In other parts of the world where I have gone (or am from) the schools (or lack there of) and other issues that come first.

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