Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why Gates hates Negroponte's $100 Laptop

Kevin Maney, a columnist for USA Today met with Bill Gates and asked him about Nicholas Negroponte's $100 Laptop for the Third World -- which has recently been endorsed by the United Nations at the World Economic Forum.

In his column, Maney writes that Gates suggested to him that cell phones would be better in such a scenario. Why? Maney thinks aloud...

On the face of it, Gates seems to be taking his position only because that darn $100 laptop doesn't run on Microsoft's Windows operating system. Negroponte chose a free Linux-based operating system — and then gored Microsoft by saying he picked it not because it's free, but because it's better.

Worse for Microsoft, if tens of millions of Negroponte's Microsoft-free laptops spread through the Third World, that kind of product base would lure developers to create more software for the machines. Major manufacturers such as Sony or Dell might decide to make better, competing supercheap non-Windows laptops.

Could Maney be right? Would one of the TIME Persons of the Year (for his philanthropy) be this selfish?

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