Christopher Blizzard, a OLPC developer, feels that 60 Minutes missed the main issue of why Intel's Classmate pricing is dangerous:
By hiding the true costs of their laptops they are undermining the ability for a huge number of children to receive low cost laptops. Are they really going to dispense laptops at a $100-200 loss each to a billion kids? I think that’s the important question.Then Charbax, the man behind the excellent OLPC.TV expands on the Classmate price point:
The cost of the Classmate is closer to $400. Though Intel is offering only to OLPC launch states in maximum bunches of 10 thousand units at $180 each. Thus Intel is taking a $220 loss per laptop. Intel will only sell at that price in relatively low volumes, you can be sure Intel won’t commit to deliver a million laptops per country at that price.To expand on Charbax's speculation, I do wonder what is the "true cost" of a Classmate PC and invite a post analyzing it on OLPC News. I also agree with Charbax that the Classmate PC is more a lower spec conventional laptop instead of the computing revolution of the OLPC XO. But I cannot help but be surprised that no one sees the irony in a XO vs PC price comparison.
Less we forget, Nicholas Negroponte was the first to make price, not educational functionality or usage, central to the one-to-one computers for education debate with his initial title for this project; the "$100 laptop."
Next, Negroponte has consistently made that price point a central aspect of his marketing campaign to sell OLPC XO computers even when acknowledging that that true cost of his hardware is
$130, $140, $150, $176 dollars per computer.
In addition, One Laptop Per Child's original mission encouraged other low-cost laptop competitors:
OLPC is not at heart a technology program and the XO is not a product in any conventional sense of the word. We are non-profit: constructionism is our goal; XO is our means of getting there. It is a very cool, even revolutionary machine, and we are very proud of it. But we would also be delighted if someone built something better, and at a lower price.To now bemoan other low-cost competitors, especially if they might use misleading price points in marketing their product is pretty cheeky. In fact it's the OLPC pot calling the Intel kettle black.
So OLPC, stop your bitching about price or competition and concentrate on your strengths: your clock-stopping hot technology and, one day, a comprehensive implementation plan. While you do, let Leslie Stahl's comments ring in your ears:
He says he's confident he'll get his orders even though he's about to face even more competition as other companies are working on low-cost laptops. That will result in more kids getting them which is, after all, what Negroponte said he wanted in the first place..