Thursday, March 16, 2006

Gates Bashes $100 Laptop Project, Boasts "Origami"

It’s one thing to promote you company’s own (arguably good) products, but a whole different story to start mocking what’s intended to ultimately be a humanitarian gesture. However, looks like somebody should explain this to Bill Gates, who mocked the $100 laptop project for developing countries, calling it “something without a disk ... and with a tiny little screen".

According to Reuters, Microsoft’s “Mighty” Chief Software Architect Bill Gates, while attending the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in suburban Washington, began ranting about the project backed by the rivals from Google and currently in development at MIT. Exactly after presenting his own UMPC, the famous “Origami Project”, that is.

The $100 laptop project seeks to provide inexpensive computers to people in developing countries. The computers lack many features found on a typical personal computer, such as a hard disk and software.

"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.

"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 continued.

Well, perhaps you’re right, Mr. Gates. But in any case, it’s quite a better initiative than your
$599 to $999 ultra-mobile PC, a device that will probably flop (at least its current version) due to the fact that it’s quite an unsuccessful crossing between a PDA and a laptop, so a product that really doesn’t have a market.

But we shouldn’t really be surprised by Gates’ reaction. As we’ve seen during the last few mounts, the grapes are very sour for Microsoft, and whenever the company encounters a product that could threaten one of its own (or in which the company’s not involved), one of its leaders steps forward and begins bashing it. I bet Gates would have praised it should it have ran some OS developed by the company from Redmond. Don’t you think so?


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