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March 15, 2006

“Bill Gates mocks MIT’s $100 laptop project”

Posted by David Hunter at 9:11 PM ET.

That’s the title and the lede in Joel Rothstein’s Reuters article:

Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates on Wednesday mocked a $100 laptop computer for developing countries being developed with the backing of rival Google Inc. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The last thing you want to do for a shared use computer is have it be something without a disk … and with a tiny little screen,” Gates said at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in suburban Washington.

“Hardware is a small part of the cost” of providing computing capabilities, he said, adding that the big costs come from network connectivity, applications and support.

“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,” Gates said.

Stand by for the media furor. I think the idea is fairly wacky myself, but the chairman of Microsoft needs to be crisp in his arguments if he’s going to take on this one. Gates didn’t help his case by holding up one of the newly announced $600-$1000 Origami UMPCs or thinking that the $100 computer involves sharing – there’s actually supposed to be one of the hand cranked gadgets per kid. I also wonder what happened to Microsoft’s cell phone alternative.

Filed under Bill Gates, Executives, General Business, Governmental Relations, Microsoft, Origami, Public Relations, Technologies

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