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'One Laptop Per Child' Program Faces Challenges

Technology

'One Laptop Per Child' Program Faces Challenges

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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One of the original laptops unveiled in 2005 at the advent of the "One Laptop per Child" initiative.

One of the original laptops unveiled in 2005 at the advent of the "One Laptop per Child" initiative. Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

In 2005, Nicholas Negroponte outlined a plan to design and build laptops for no more than $100, and distribute them to 150 million of the world's poorest children. Since then, the "One Laptop per Child" program has hit a few snags — the laptops cost about $180 and Microsoft and Intel have emerged as competitors.

Why can't all of the companies join forces to build and distribute laptops to children worldwide?

"It depends on whether you look at children as a market, or a mission," Negroponte says, "and as a profit-making company, you have a fiduciary responsibility to treat it as a market."

Negroponte says he views the "competition" from companies such as Intel as a success:

"If every child on the planet used an Intel laptop three years from now, that would be delightful," he says, "because I'm not in the laptop business. What we are is in the education business, and we want children to be connected."

Guests:

Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child; co-founder and director of the MIT Media Lab

Steve Stecklow, reporter for The Wall Street Journal, author of the article "A Little Laptop With Big Ambitions"

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