Ambition Fails for One Laptop Per Child

Visionary project lowering expectations as for-profit competitors muscle in
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2007 2:38 PM CST
Yves Behar's "One Laptop Per Child" project is displayed at the exhibition Design Miami Basel 2007, the global forum for collecting, exhibiting, discussing and creating design in Basel Switzerland, Wednesday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – One Laptop Per Child started with a monstrously ambitious goal – build laptops for $100 each, sell them by the millions to the developing world. But since then, cost overruns and attacks from for-profit competitors have ravaged demand, the Wall Street Journal reports. A mere 300,000 are being produced in this month’s inaugural manufacturing run, as developing countries withdraw informal commitments.

Many countries are opting for Intel’s “Classmate” laptop, which runs Windows. OLPC’s machines use Intel competitor's AMD chips and Linux. As countries withdrew million-unit commitments, OLPC had to scale down production, contributing to cost overruns that have made the $100 laptop a $188 laptop. “I’m not good at selling laptops,” admitted OLPC’s founder. “I’m good at selling ideas.”