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Microsoft want in on the One Laptop Per Child project…

an image of Nicholas Negroponte and Kofi Annan demonstrating the OLPC laptop computerAs acts of philanthropic, beneficent gestures go, the goal of One Laptop Per Child, “expressly [to provide a laptop computer] for the world’s poorest children living in its most remote environments” is making news, turning heads and melting hearts.

It’s a project that has been the work of one Nicholas Negroponte and is his desire to empower the poorest children in the developing world and give them a start in life similar if not equal to the chance that children in the developed world have.

A chance to begin a life of learning, a life ever more computer-centric, the knowledge of which becoming more of a currency today than it ever was.

“I have known [Microsoft chairman] Bill Gates his entire adult life. We talk, we meet one-on-one, we discuss this project, …”

an image of the OLPC laptop computerWhich sounds more like the sullen words of a weary school teacher, soon to be followed by “Bless him! He does try, but must try harder.”

To my mind at least, Microsoft’s attempts to first criticize and then take receipt of a number of these laptops smacks of jealously firstly, and then damaged pride second:

“Gates has publicly criticised the OLPC project, arguing that its small screen and lack of a hard disk make it underpowered.”

Underpowered for what, Windows? You’re damn right! What about Linux? Of course not, and that’s why Microsoft is bitchin’ .. and that’s why an SD Slot was added to the OLPC laptop, just to placate Bill Gates:

“We put in an SD slot in the machine just for Bill. We didn’t need it but the OLPC machines are at Microsoft right now, getting Windows put on them.”

Which really says everything.

The fact is, Microsoft want in, but for the life of them they cannot make Windows fit either the technical requirements nor the price point.

That, my dear reader is a story unto itself…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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