Saturday, May 17, 2008

Microsoft Joins with One Laptop Per Child Nonprofit Effort

Over the past several months, we have blogged often about the One Laptop Per Child nonprofit program. (See here, here and here).  It seems that OLPC received a big boost recently because Microsoft has agreed to allow the program to use the Windows operating system.  Previously, OLPC only used the Linux operating system, which did not sit too well with Microsoft.  But, apparently, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte reached a meeting of the minds on a way in which Microsoft could assist the OLPC nonprofit effort to get laptops to poor children in developing parts of the world.  Here is an excerpt from the May 16, 2008, issue of the New York Times discussing Microsoft's agreement to assist OLPC:

The first of the project’s child-friendly XO laptops running Windows XP will be tested next month in limited trials in four or five countries. Mr. Utzschneider declined to identify the countries, but he said XO laptops running Windows would be generally available by September.The pact with Microsoft is not an exclusive agreement. The Linux version will still be available, and the group will encourage outside software developers to create a version of the project’s educational software, called Sugar, that will run on Windows.

Windows will add a bit to the price of the machines, about $3, the licensing fee Microsoft charges to some developing nations under a program called Unlimited Potential. For those nations that want models that can run both Windows and Linux, the extra hardware required will add another $7 or so to the cost of the machines, Mr. Negroponte said.

The laptops now cost about $200 each, and the project’s goal is to eventually bring the price down to about $100.

For the entire article, see "Microsoft Joins Effort for Laptops for Children," in the May 16, 2008, issue of the New York Times.


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