One Laptop Per Child – Production Delays Caused By Microsoft, Intel?

What started off as a worthy project to bring laptop systems to the worlds children, now is facing production delays, and the systems may not get into the hands of children until late 2007. Rumors have surfaced that there could be some kind of manufacturing difficulties from the company that is going to produce these laptops, however, it seems very strange that two companies, Microsoft and Intel, may be playing a part in the delay as well.

This ambitious project started out with a projected cost of $100 and the laptops originally would be using non-Intel and non-Microsoft products. But this may be about to change. First Intel started to shed some doubt that any company, except naturally Intel, would be able to produce the projected 3 million + chips for the original project. OLPC also had the intentions of using a Linux version operating system for the laptops.

Last week I had mentioned that Microsoft was coming out with their $3.00 package offering of software targeting 3rd world countries. [See article here].

The plot thickens. This week it seems that the folks at OLPC have been in contact with Microsoft concerning this package and the possibility of using the $3.00 package instead of free Linux to power the system. Which would lead one to believe that the $3.00 package may need more horsepower to run. I wonder if Intel would have a chip sitting in the wings that would be ideal for this package? :-)

Here is what could happen. OLPC has already announced that the $100 laptop has increased in cost, and now could go as high as $175 per unit. If Microsoft and Intel get their pinkies into the project, that price could once again escalate. But if either Microsoft or Intel decide to subsidies the project, this price could be held at the $175 mark. Bill Gates has announced that he intends to bring computers to more than 1 billion people by the year 2015.

I sincerely hope that no matter what the people who are running the OLPC project decide, that their project will continue and not get bogged down in a play of corporate greed and ambitions.

What do you think? Will the involvement of either Microsoft or Intel prove the downfall to this once worthy project? Or will the OLPC project benefit from it?

Comments welcome.

[tags]OLPC, microsoft, intel, project, worthy, [/tags]

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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.