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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another reason to hate Microsoft and mildly loath Intel

As usual Microsoft and Intel first ridicule a product then when it shows they copy and exploit it. Today's article in the Wall Street Journal titled A Little Laptop with Big Ambitions shows how they play the game. First a MIT Professor named Nicholas Negroponte proposed the idea - that we build a cheap laptop, under $100 US, for poor children all over the world then load it with software and spread them far and wide. Negroponte had some ambitious goals including both price and numbers that haven't been meet. Per unit price never reached $100 a system but did come in at $188 per box and not many laptops have been shipped. The cute little beast is called the XO. Currently there is a special - send them $399 and they will send you a XO and send one to a child in the 3rd world.

Micro$oft initially ignores it, Intel ridicules it, and then MIT plus AMD and several others build it. Now that its out and Microsoft and Intel fear that their usual lack of vision will leave them behind. So, they have rushed to come up with a competing product called the Classmate, also see here. The problem is that it cost $300 instead of $188 and runs - you guessed it - Windows. Microsoft, because of their fear that 3rd worlders might become technologically literate, jumped into the frey with a $3.00 stripped down copy of Windows and Word, they don't tell us if it comes with their usual assortment of bugs and viruses, but no doubt it does. Anyway, they are using their usual strong armed tactics to sell the Classmate and trash the XO.

Currently it looks like Intel has backed off a bit on their attack on the XO and are now offering the system with a version of Mandrake Linux on it but as for Microsoft - no doubt they are being their usual evil self.

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