Gates slams $100 Laptop (again)
This isn’t the first time Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates criticizes the One Laptop Per Child initiative, spearheaded by the MIT Media Labs which is basically developing a US$ 100 laptop intended for distribution to kids in 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.
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.”
Well, I do share Gates’ concern about usability, and the “value” concept he places on the computer system (which is more software than hardware). True, if you had the resources, you’d definitely go for a more capable computer, with all the whizz-bang peripherals and lightning speed broadband access. But if you’re a kid in some fourth-world nation where the computer penetration rate is close to nil, you’d be happy to have anything that just plain works.