PCs for the poor: Ultimate solution or scam of the century?
At the 2005 World Economic Forum in Switzerland a soft-spoken academic made an announcement that sent seismic waves across the computer industry. Nicholas Negroponte, then director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, spoke of making laptops available at US$100 for schoolchildren in developing nations.
The price was not the only big news. Negroponte named companies that had agreed to collaborate on what would become the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.
Notably, the list did not include Microsoft and Intel, the world's largest software and microchip manufacturers, respectively. Instead, the laptop would use a processor from Advanced Micro Devices and an operating system based on Linux, whose code is freely available for anyone to modify and distribute.