Sales For One Laptop Per Child--Give One Get One.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on January 7, 2008

Sales of the olpc xo laptop for the Give One Get One holiday program came to 162,000—or 81,000 depending on how you do the math. Some 81,000 Americans bought the computers, allowing olpc to send another 81,000 to poor kids in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

I’m surprised at the low number of sales. The xo laptop, in so many ways, is perfect for US and European kids. Which is probably why so many designers love it.

Nicholas Negroponte was hoping for a million units, which could have created an economic model of scale.

This Fortune interview provides background into the controversy over Intel leaving the olpc project. The flashpoint was Peru, where olpc said Intel tried to badmouth the xo to the minister of education, who promptly told olpc. The minister of education believes in the self-instruction pedogogy for children inherent in the olpc philosophy. “Peru is really our star because they really understand constructionism,” says Negroponte.

Which is fine, if he finds it appropriate for the children of Peru.

Reader Comments

thinkdata

January 8, 2008 12:28 PM

did it ever occur to anyone that having a couple of options in this market might be a good thing? Surely the market is big enough to support it! Competition is healthy no matter whether the players are "for" or "non" profit.

My regret is that you have fueled the fires of polarized thinking by declaring the olpc approach as flawed. I myself marvel at what it represents. I also happen to marvel at achievements in desktop management made by others and understand their point about classroom management.

But in the end these are word games. I say let the chips fall where they may, let's get some units in the hands of people who will use them and mold them to what they need to do.

disclaimer: I am one of those 165,000 eagerly awaiting the arrival of my olpc unit. Can I help it if it is simply COOL? Maybe some of our other laptop makers will get the message that keyboards should be spill-proof.

Christa

January 8, 2008 1:34 PM

I was also disappointed at the low sales figures for the olpc xo laptop. As much as we are bombarded by new technology, we are not nearly as adaptable as we may like to be. New technologies and new sales models take some getting used to. Look how long it's taken to get casual gamers on board or how long there's been talk of being able to walk around with a library of books in the palms of our hands.

Christa

January 8, 2008 1:34 PM

I was also disappointed at the low sales figures for the olpc xo laptop. As much as we are bombarded by new technology, we are not nearly as adaptable as we may like to be. New technologies and new sales models take some getting used to. Look how long it's taken to get casual gamers on board or how long there's been talk of being able to walk around with a library of books in the palms of our hands.

Sebastien

January 8, 2008 9:51 PM

Like Everyone I am tempted to be disappointed to by the sales, but 162k is not that bad. Every step is good as long as it is in the right direction.
I would have liked to buy one but I did not have the financial power to do so.

I also agree that they are probably enough place for more than a player in this sector but the objective of the OLPC was mass production to drive cost down.
I still think we should start with ONE kind of laptop to see where this is leading and act accordingly depending on the results.

I much prefer the XO compared to any other similar machines I have seen so far.

Mark

January 9, 2008 8:49 PM

I purchased two of the OLPC laptops for my two sons and have found the results to be nothing short of amazing. The morning I gave them to my boys, ages 8 and 4, I showed the elder son how to turn the laptop on, giving him about 10 minutes of basic instructions. That was all I needed to do, he has figured the rest out on his own. Even better, he has taught his younger brother how to use his. It is a magical scenario - two young boys using a very engaging thinking tool, working together to discover the new secrets it has to offer. Warts and all, this is the type of educational tool I have been hoping for for many years!

www.businessweek.com

April 5, 2011 6:00 PM

Sales_for_one_laptop_per_child give_one_get_one.. Keen :)

www.businessweek.com

April 22, 2011 9:38 AM

Sales_for_one_laptop_per_child give_one_get_one.. Nice :)

www.businessweek.com

May 1, 2011 1:24 AM

Sales_for_one_laptop_per_child give_one_get_one.. Keen :)

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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