Feeds

Gates mocks Negroponte's $100 laptop

Why pay less when you can pay more?

Boost IT visibility and business value

Bill Gates has mocked the $100 Linux-based, wind-up powered PC which is being pitched by MIT media lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte at developing markets.

In a move unlikely to endear the world's richest man to PC users in either the developed or the developing nations. Gates advised them to "get a decent computer" that offered a decent screen, a broadband connection and isn't powered by a wind-up handle.

Shortly before his reported comments, Gates - speaking at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in Washington - had been extolling the latest Windows powered machines costing up to $1,000.

"Hardware is a small part of the cost" of providing a PC, he noted, adding that the biggest costs come from network connectivity, support, and, er, applications.

Bill should know. The planned Microsoft Office Professional 2007 will be priced at $499 while the "budget" Office Home and Student 2007 comes in at $149. Then there's the price of the operating system. Microsoft has not yet released pricing for its next Windows client, however Window XP retails for several hundred dollars.

Combined, Windows and Office kill the $100 PC's value proposition for OEMs and users. That said, Microsoft did tackle the "value" concept itself in recent years when it reluctantly introduced stripped down, Starter Editions of Windows XP in Brazil, Russia and South East Asia in response to certain government-sponsored "peoples' PCs" programs developed using Linux. It is also understood to take a more flexible approach to pricing on its full strength products in some developing countries.

Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, outlined his plans for the $100 PC last year. The wind-up devices, targeted at children in developing nations, feature a 500Mhz processor, 1Gb of memory and dual-mode color or black and white display that can be read in direct sunlight.

Negroponte expects to develop between 100m and 150m units by 2007 working with Google, AMD, Red Hat and Brightstar.

Gates is reported to have said of this collaborative effort: "If you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user, geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you're not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type."

Otherwise, why bother? ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip
Look at the shiny Windows 8.1, why can't you people talk about 8.1, sobs an exec somewhere
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?