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Has the non-profit business model adopted by One Laptop Per Child hindered its success?

An investigation by Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology University of Portsmouth
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology i

Technology in the classroom is becoming an ever common sight around the world. One organisation that aims to extend this further to developing regions is One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). But rather than operating with the intention to make a profit, OLPC distinctively runs as a non-profit with humanitarian motives; surrounded by highly competitive and established technology companies.

The purpose of the research paper is to investigate the impact of the non-profit model on OLPC’s accomplishments so far and whether it is the right approach for the future. Focusing on the business aspect of OLPC, the paper studies some of the many characteristics of the non-profit sector and important areas of management applicable to non-profit organisations. Past news events related to OLPC are linked with these findings in order to form points of discussion. Research survey found that the user community feels neglected from the OLPC initiative and that they should be better utilised to help support the non-profit approach.

The paper concludes that OLPC should still maintain their non-profit model as a way of differentiating themselves within the laptop market and whilst they might not consider themselves as having competition, better management is need to ensure that future goals and new laptop models are to become a success.

A quote from Nicholas Negroponte in 2006: “Now once people start looking at this, they say, ah, this is a laptop project. Well, no, it's not a laptop project. It's an education project...I'm just going to get that thing built, and it turns out it's not so hard. Because laptop economics are the following: I say 50 percent here; it's more like 60, 60 percent of the cost of your laptop is sales, marketing, distribution and profit. Now we have none of those, OK? None of those figure into our cost. Because first of all, we sell it at cost, and the governments distribute it”
Speaking at the TED2006 conference (Monterey, California)

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


After the stresses and many hours of dedication put in, I am pleased with what I have produced and to be able to call it ‘my own work’ is a very satisfying one. This dissertation would not have been possible without the help, support and advice given from a variety of people.

First of all, I would like to thank my tutor, Penny Hart, for her valuable guidance over the last few months. Her suggestion for me to present my research project at the student research conference, held at the University of Portsmouth, gave me the added confidence needed in the run up to the completion date. To all the forum respondents of my questionnaire, I thank you for your useful insights into the OLPC initiative and the findings were very interesting. I am also grateful towards Yioryos Asprobounitis and Wayan Vota (forum admins at for supporting the research stage of my project. Extra thanks also goes towards Sandy at, for taking the time to review and critique my initial survey questions.

Last and not least, a special mention goes towards my housemates; Dudley, for his lively house shaking dubstep music; Rachel, for always being in a happy mood; and Michael, for the motivational words given throughout the year.

Mikul Patel Business Information Technology University of Portsmouth

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Figures and Tables .......................................................................................... vi Abbreviations.................................................................................................. vii

Chapter One – Introduction to the Project 1.1 Background information......................................................................... 1 1.2 Project aims and objectives .................................................................... 2 1.3 Methodology ........................................................................................ 3 1.3.1 Secondary research....................................................................... 3 1.3.2 Primary research........................................................................... 4 1.4 Project constraints ................................................................................ 4

Chapter Two – The Non-Profit Sector 2.1 What is the non-profit sector? ................................................................ 5 2.1.1 Public charities.............................................................................. 6 2.1.2 Private foundations ....................................................................... 6 2.1.3 Other exempt organisations ........................................................... 7 2.2 Where does OLPC fit within this sector? ................................................... 7 2.3 Outside the non-profit sector.................................................................. 9 2.3.1 Are the boundaries merging together? ............................................. 9 2.4 The non-profit effect on the laptop market ............................................... 11

Chapter Three – Non-Profit Management 3.1 Leadership and the governing board........................................................ 13 3.1.1 The current state of OLPC’s leadership and board.............................. 14 3.2 The mission statement .......................................................................... 16 3.2.1 The changing nature of OLPC’s mission ............................................ 16 3.3 Strategy and business planning .............................................................. 17 3.3.1 A shift in strategy for OLPC? ........................................................... 18 3.3.2 A lack of risk from OLPC................................................................. 19 3.4 Summary............................................................................................. 20

Chapter Four – Intel Classmate PC – A Brief Case Study 4.1 History behind the Classmate PC ............................................................ 22 4.2 Product development............................................................................. 23 4.3 Classmate PC distribution ...................................................................... 24

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


4.4 Marketing and pricing strategy ............................................................... 25 4.5 Summary ............................................................................................ 26

Chapter Five – Primary Research 5.1 Methodology ........................................................................................ 27 5.2.1 Questionnaire design ..................................................................... 27 5.2.2 Questionnaire constraints............................................................... 29 5.2.3 Questionnaire response.................................................................. 30 5.2 Questionnaire results.............................................................................31 5.2.1 General questions ......................................................................... 31 5.2.2 The XO laptop............................................................................... 32 5.2.3 The OLPC project .......................................................................... 34 5.3 Summary of research ............................................................................ 39

Chapter Six – Further Discussion 6.1 The G1G1 program ............................................................................... 40 6.1.1 The G1G1 community .................................................................... 41 6.1.2 G1G1 2010? ................................................................................. 42 6.2 OLPC’s management ............................................................................. 43 6.2.1 Change in direction ....................................................................... 43 6.2.2 An educational or laptop project? .................................................... 43 6.3 The competing markets ......................................................................... 44 6.3.1 A commercial approach.................................................................. 45 6.4 New funding sources ............................................................................. 46 6.5 Future considerations for OLPC ............................................................... 48

Chapter Seven – Conclusion 7.1 Conclusion of the project ....................................................................... 49 7.2 Answering the objectives ....................................................................... 50 7.3 Limitations ........................................................................................... 52 7.4 Future expansions.................................................................................52

References ..................................................................................................... 53 Appendices ..................................................................................................... 62

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Figures and Tables
Figure 1.1 - Negroponte with the XO-1 laptop at a UN briefing .............................. 2 Figure 2.1 - NCCS categorisation of non-profit organisations................................. 5 Figure 2.2 - The three sectors and hybrid segments of the economy ...................... 10 Figure 3.1 - Board behaviour moves forwards and backwards ............................... 14 Figure 3.2 - OLPCorps students with teachers at Kicukiro Primary.......................... 19 Figure 4.1 - Original ‘clamshell’ design of the Classmate PC .................................. 22 Figure 4.2 - Updated clamshell design (left), convertible design (right) .................. 23 Figure 4.3 - Distribution of Intel-powered Classmate PC’s..................................... 24 Figure 5.1 - SurveyGizmo account types ............................................................ 29 Figure 5.2 - SurveyGizmo summary of results..................................................... 30 Figure 5.3 - News posting of the questionnaire.................................................... 31 Figure 5.4 - Relation to the XO laptop ................................................................32 Figure 5.5 - Method of obtaining the XO laptop ................................................... 32 Figure 5.6 - Main purpose of using the XO laptop ................................................ 33 Figure 5.7 - Rated experience of using an XO laptop ............................................ 33 Figure 5.8 - The year which knowledge of the OLPC project occurred ..................... 34 Figure 5.9 - Perception of OLPC’s media coverage ............................................... 35 Figure 5.10 - Perception of OLPC’s success ......................................................... 36 Figure 5.11 - View of OLPC’s commercial viability ................................................ 36 Figure 5.12 - Perceived focus for OLPC............................................................... 37 Figure 5.13 - View that OLPC should be more profit-driven ................................... 37 Figure 6.1 - G1 program................................................................ 41

Table 1 - Basic breakdown of the OLPC organisation ............................................ 8 Table 2 - Netbook shipment volume and market share by brand in 2008 (Q3) ........ 12 Table 3 - Question justification for survey...........................................................28 Table 4 - Ranked perception of the importance of advertising media ...................... 35

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


American Cancer Society (ACS) British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chief Information Officer (CIO) East African Community (EAC) Give 1 Get 1 (G1G1) Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) Non Government Organisations (NGO) Office for National Statistics (ONS) One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC) Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) The Entertainment Gathering (EG) United Nations (UN) United States (US)

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Chapter One – Introduction to the Project
Before an investigation of the project title can begin, it is important to provide some background information based around the topic area. This chapter will also give a summary of the aims and objectives of the research project along with a short description on how and why research is to be carried out.

1.1 Background information
After decades of dominance in the computer market, the desktop PC was finally overtaken, in terms of sales, by the notebook PC during the third quarter of 2008 (iSuppli Corporation, 2008). This strikes the question “is this the end of the desktop PC?” (Soh, 2009) as the price point of notebook PCs continue to fall whilst still offering the functionalities that consumers demand; the most convenient being able to wirelessly compute with a lightweight device.

An issue linked with the increased availability of technology and information is that of the global digital divide. Put simply, this is the area in between those countries that have free access to technology and those who do not. As of 2009, 1.3 billion people are thought to be actively online; equating to around 20 per cent of the global population (Morley, 2009, p. 302). If further analysed, it would be clear that the majority who do not have access to technology would come from third world countries such as those in Africa, Asia and parts of the Americas. Many issues and solutions to solving the digital divide have been debated (Barrett, 2007; Iacolare, 2007) such as empowering the people who can make use of new technologies whilst at the same time improving the usability to accommodate the masses.

One organisation that was set up to tackle the digital divide in developing countries is the One Laptop Per Child Association (OLPC). Formed in January 2005 and headquartered in Massachusetts, USA, the organisation is fronted by computer scientist and visionary Nicholas Negroponte. As well as being a former graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Negroponte also co-founded the MIT Media Laboratory and has been an influential figure in the world of technology with his ideas and beliefs (MIT Media Lab, n.d.). In his best selling book, he predicted the influence that digital technologies may have in the future by describing that “digital living will include less and less dependence on being in a specific space at a specific time” (Negroponte, 1995, p. 165).

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Unlike most companies who produce technological products with the aim to make a profit, OLPC is different as they operate on a non-profit basis. Here, the aim is to focus on the educational benefits of the organisation rather than becoming fixated on the profitability of the technological side; hence why the project is often referred as being “not a laptop project. It’s an education project” (OLPC, 2010a).

Building on from the principles expressed in his works, Negroponte finally unveiled a prototype of a proposed $100 laptop with support of, then United Nations SecretaryGeneral, Kofi Annan. The device was aimed at aiding education for the world's poorest children (United Nations, 2005). Eventually a final design was created and became known as the XO-1 laptop. Mass production started in late 2007 with working models being sent to those governments who placed early orders.

Figure 1.1 Negroponte with the XO-1 laptop at a UN briefing (Reuters, 2006)

1.2 Project aims and objectives
Of the many potential areas for discussion, this research project will aim to understand the non-profit business model adopted by OLPC, and its affect on the success of the organisation; against those who operate on a for-profit basis. The report intends to identify important characteristics of the non-profit model and cross examine them with appropriate examples related to OLPC with thorough analysis. Primary research will aimed towards those, who could be considered as being, stakeholders to OLPC with the view to obtain their perceptions on the organisation.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


In order to accomplish the aims of the project, the following objectives questions should be considered and answered:

1) What are the characteristics of the non-profit sector? To identify the procedures for non-profits and how they work in industry

2) What are the mission goals and objectives as set by OLPC? To identify the motives and drive behind the initiative and how they may possibly change over time and why

3) On what scale does OLPC operate? To identify the size and scope of OLPC and compare it against possible competitors within the market

4) How does OLPC’s non-profit model differ from a for-profit model? To identify the main differences between both model types and whether they would have a good or bad impact on OLPC reaching their mission

5) How do stakeholders of OLPC perceive the company performance? To identify common views of those with an interest in OLPC; either actual users or those who actively follow the progress of the initiative.

1.3 Methodology
Successfully answering the research question will require thorough research of secondary and primary sources to be carried out.

1.3.1 Secondary research Secondary source data collected will be crucial to supporting the data gathered from primary sources. This will be a mixture of quantitative and qualitative data drawn together from a variety of sources such as current topical journals and internet articles. Due to the nature of the project and OLPC’s formation being as early as 2005, it is unlikely that literature research will contain specific analysis of OLPC. However, this report will make extensive use of academic literature to support the study of the non-profit sector, business models and significant business theories. As listed in the project initiation document (Appendix A), titles by Drucker (1990), Hudson (1995) and Christensen (1997) will give some useful background information for analysis of the OLPC project.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Careful consideration has been made over the validity of research information collected, especially from internet sources. Where possible, data from this source will be double checked to ensure no error has been made at the time of publication.

1.3.2 Primary research For the purpose of collecting meaningful data, a detailed questionnaire will be used. Questionnaires have been identified as being more cost effective than carrying out formal face-to-face interviews. The cost of travelling and the effort of scheduling meetings are not justifiable for this research project. Questionnaires can be mass delivered at the same time. The project hopes to collate data from a large sample size and by using questionnaires, this is made possible. Additionally, the opportunity to gather data from different geographical areas could help to find common trends.

For the purpose of analysing data, questionnaires can allow for easy graphical representations of quantitative data through the use of computer software. It is expected that respondents to the questionnaire will be familiar with the format so that would eliminate the doubt of filling in personal opinions. Also, it has been acknowledged that questionnaires are considered as being less intrusive than faceto-face interviews because there is no pressure to answer questions quickly. This allows for good thought to be put into an answer; hopefully resulting in better individual responses.

Most importantly, to reduce the likelihood of bias and the influence of results, questionnaires have been identified as being a more appropriate method of collecting primary data because there is not formal contact.

1.4 Project constraints
Due to the limited time scale of the project, the quality and scope of research could be brought into question. Regarding secondary research, the fast paced nature of the technology market may result in articles being outdated by the time the report has been completed. New technologies or market progression may occur during the write up phase and this report will aim to keep as up to date as possible (circa April 2010). The level of secondary resources available to read from will be some what limited to the University library and online journal database. With the questionnaires, as the respondents are located in another geographical location, it may be difficult to provide help if they are stuck on answering some questions. As a way around this, all participants will be given the opportunity to communicate back via email.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Chapter Two – The Non-Profit Sector
This chapter will provide an understanding of the non-profit sector and its position alongside the public and private sectors. The chapter will also outline the different types of non-profits and the current state of the sector. As OLPC operates as a nonprofit organisation, their position within the non-profit sector will be examined. Advancements in the laptop market will briefly be discussed.

2.1 What is the non-profit sector?
In 2008, a report on the non-profit sector, released by the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), found that approximately 1.4 million non-profit organisations were registered with the US government Internal Revenue Service (IRS); a increase of 27 per cent between the years 1995 and 2005 (Blackwood, Wing & Pollack, 2008).

The non-profit (also known as the third) sector can be described as a place where not-for-profit organisations are positioned alongside a collection of public service activities and private foundations (McKinney & Howard, 1998, p. 76). In contrast, Lyons (2001, p. 5) considers it as being a place where lies “those organizations that are not part of the public or business sectors”. However, both authors come to the agreement that organisations, which lie within this sector, are formed by groups of people who act on a voluntary basis and do not consider profit making as being a main objective. Other common characteristics may include the democratic style of management and control over the organisational structure; similar to one you may find within the private sector. The non-profit sector can be further sorted into a variety of organisation types. Appendix C lists the 26 types of organisations which are exempt from the federal income tax system in the US.

Figure 2.1 NCCS categorisation of non-profit organisations (Urban Institute, n.d.)

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


However, as detailed on figure 2.1, the NCCS categorises the sector into three types; of which are further explained below:

2.1.1 Public charities A publicly supported charity is dependent on finance received from the public. This could come in the form of donations or from providing a service in exchange for a small charge to cover operating costs, with the excess donated to a charitable cause.

Hopkins (2005) identifies public charities as being either one of two types; institutions and publicly supported charities (p. 48). Public institutions can come in a variety of forms including religious organisations, educational establishments and places of healthcare. Depending on the national budget received from sources such as public taxes, governments contribute heavily to public services. Again in the US, public charities are placed under the tax code 501(c)(3) (Internal Revenue Code of 1986) in order to be declare themselves as being tax exempt and entitled to receive tax deductable gift donations.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is an example of a public charity that, through the charitable work carried out by its volunteers and donations received, are able to offer a public service in the interest of the community.

2.1.3 Private foundations Private foundations operate on a basis of being funded by payments from, usually, a single wealthy financial source. Within the US, organisations who do not meet the criteria of being public charities are defined under section 509(a) (Internal Revenue Code of 1986) as being a private foundation.

Further characteristics, as described by Hopkins (2005), class private foundations as being tax-exempt and generally represent in areas of educational or scientific work; but still “subject to the rules application to charitable organizations” (p. 47). Also, investment assets could be used as a source of revenue; “much like an endowment fund” (p. 48). A private foundation may not necessarily have its own dedicated charity program, possibly due to a lack of time available or charitable knowledge, and therefore may choose to pass on its funds, as grants, onto other charitable causes. These may be of personal interest to the private foundation and located in a different geographical location.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is leading example of a grant-making foundation that makes use of their influential status in society for the benefit of charitable causes. Most recently, a pledge by the foundation (“Bill and Melinda Gates make $10bn vaccine pledge”, 2010) shows the intention such a foundation can have around the globe to make a social difference.

2.1.3 Other exempt organisations The NCCS places the other classifications of non-profits under the term ‘other exempt organisations’. Here, ‘social welfare’ organisations are considered to make up the greatest proportion of those organisation types.

In order to be classed as being a social welfare organisation, “an organization must operate primarily to further the common good and general welfare of the people of the community” (IRS, 2009). Under US tax codes, social welfare organisations are classed as being 501(c)(4) (Internal Revenue Code of 1986). Worth (2009) brings up the question of why social welfare organisations are classed as being 501(c)(4) when they closely follow the same goals as 501(c)(3) organisations. The difference being that social welfare organisations do not “face the same limitations on political activity” (p. 13) that 501(c)(3) organisations are objected to. To balance this advantage, social welfare organisations are not able to declare gift donations as being tax deductible.

Appendix C lists the other non-profit organisation types that would fall under NCCS’s category ‘other exempt organisations’. These are not considered to make up a large percentage of the total number of non-profit organisations in US; but they still are able to contribute by providing a charitable service.

2.2 Where does OLPC fit within this sector?
Using the NCCS guidelines, OLPC would be placed under the category ‘other exempt organisations’ because they do not meet the criteria’s of being public charity in providing a service and receiving funding from government sources; and in being a private foundation, with no single finance source funding the project.

Therefore, it should be simple to establish under which tax bracket (see Appendix C) the OLPC organisation belongs to. However, due to the structure of the company, assigning one tax bracket to represent the whole organisation is not as clear-cut.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


For the purpose of this report, the OLPC organisation can be simply split into two definitive divisions: the OLPC Foundation and OLPC Association Inc. Table 1 gives a basic breakdown of these two divisions and the purpose they take on.

OLPC Foundation Tax Bracket (US) Non-Profit Type Headquarters Mission/ Purpose

OLPC Association Inc



Educational, Charitable etc Massachusetts, USA “Stimulate local grassroots initiatives designed to enhance and sustain over time the effectiveness of laptops as learning tools for children living in lesser-developed countries” (OLPC, 2010b)

Social Welfare Massachusetts, USA “Designing, manufacturing, and distributing laptops to children in lesser developed countries, initially concentrating on those governments that have made commitments for the funding and program support required to ensure that all of their children own and can effectively use a laptop.” (OLPC, 2010c)

Table 1. Basic breakdown of the OLPC organisation

This approach by OLPC is common practise amongst non-profit organisations. Worth (2009) indentifies that because of the advantages that can be achieved from being either an 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 organisation, it makes sense for some organisations to have “two arms – actually two separately incorporated but related organizations” (p. 14).

For OLPC, the ‘foundation’ arm is eligible to receive tax-deductible gifts and still pursue the educational, research and other activities that would make it qualified to be a 501(c)3 organisation. Alternatively, the ‘association’ arm would be free from political lobbying restrictions and be able to raise funds through a mixture of sources (chapter three briefly highlights some of the funding sources used by OLPC).

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


2.3 Outside the non-profit sector
Within an economy, the non-profit sector does not operate separately and instead is situated in between two other sectors: the public (government) and the private (forprofit) sectors. It is important to understand the differences between these two sectors as whilst they still produce a final produce/service, their motivations and goals can vary significantly.

The UK National Accounts defines the public sector as containing “central government, local government and public corporations” (ONS, 2008). Whilst these may be freely available to the public, the “aim of the public sector is to provide services that benefit the public as a whole” (Biz/, n.d.). The private sector, however, would contain organisations which are financed and run by either an individual or a collection of individuals; making up the company board. In terms of scale, organisations in the private sector can range from being small sized to operating as a large multi-national; spanning across the globe. “The goal of businesses in the private sector is to make a profit” (Biz/, n.d.).

Despite not aiming to make a profit, a public organisation could still operate in a way similar to that of a private organisation. Business costs should be covered for and if they were not managed effectively, the result could be an increase in funding required from the government; which in turn could lead to either cuts in other public services or an increase in public taxes. An example of a large-scaled public organisation, in the UK, would be the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The BBC could be classified as being a public organisation acting in a private way; public as in receiving its primary funding from the public TV license fee, and private as in renting studio space out to other broadcasting companies or commercialising through its global subsidiary; BBC Worldwide Limited.

2.3.1 Are the boundaries merging together? It would be naïve to assume that an organisation, which belongs in one of the three sectors, could not adopt some of the principles and practices as seen within organisations in the other sectors. Gunn (2004) proposes the idea that a fusion of the boundaries is occurring; causing the sectors to effectively merge together. Here, it is viewed that a sharing of resources is happening between two or even all three sectors to create “hybrid organizations” (p. 4). Figure 2.2 illustrates this idea and gives a vague proportional view of how many organisations exist in the boundaries.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


b Third Sector (non-profit) d a

Second Sector (government)


First Sector (for-profit)

Figure 2.2 The three sectors and hybrid segments of the economy (Gunn, 2004, p. 5)

The Shell Foundation (, formed by the Shell Group, is an example of how a for-profit company has created the ability to reallocate profits towards a charity foundation. They would be placed within area ‘a’ of figure 2.2.

Within area ‘b’, a union of government operations, acting in a non-profit manner, would be seen. In the UK, grant-maintained schools operate independently from local education authorities and instead rely on government grants. Therefore, a school would be completely responsible for the management of its own resources, funds etc. As public sector organisations can be argued as running in a non-profit way anyway, it is important to distinguish that those organisations found within area ‘b’ differ because they are not tied down by governmental regulations despite still offering a public service.

A public-private partnership (PPP) describes the joint collaboration between organisations from the public and private sectors. Placed inside area ‘c’, the most common form of PPP, as identified by the UK government, is a public-private initiative; “where delivery of public services involves private sector investment in infrastructure” (HM Treasury, 2010). The PPP between Birmingham City Council and Capita, a business process outsourcing (BPO) company, shows how a combination of these two sectors can result in synergies being achieved. In this case, “£9 million in

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


savings in 2007 from the first business transformation programme” (Evans & O’Dea, 2008) was achieved early on during the partnership in which more benefits are expected in the upcoming years.

Whilst Gunn (2004) describes it as being difficult to specify the nature of organisations who belong in area ‘d’, it could be seen that a joint venture between a first, second and third sector organisation would fill this gap. However, issues that may arise from this structure could include a conflict of interests between each party. A for-profit organisation may not see any benefit from being in a joint venture if there is no meaningful return on their investment. In contrast, a non-profit organisation may want to redistribute the benefits for a worthy cause in line with their own ethics and beliefs. Likewise, the government organisation may only be interested in the cost savings that would benefit them; namely creating budget savings and being able to allocate those out to other public services.

2.4 The non-profit effect on the laptop market
The introduction of the XO laptop could be considered to have been the catalyst behind some changes within the laptop market; most notably in the resurgence of the netbook (not to be confused with the notebook) sector. This sector has grown significantly in recent years; “14 million units in 2008, and with shipments continuing to rise, the scale will reach 25-30 million units in 2009, and 40-45 million units in 2010” according to Scott Lin, president of major computer manufacturer Acer Taiwan (Wang, 2009). As computer blogger Vaughan-Nichols (2009) puts it; a netbook should be “small, cheap, or able to access a network”, pinpointing the creation of the XO laptop as the start of the current netbook boom.

Having a non-profit organisation placed alongside traditional for-profit companies may have driven those for-profit companies to reassess the products they sell and the motives behind them. This was evident with the release of Intel’s Classmate PC (further discussed in chapter three) which loosely follows the non-profit humanitarian goals as set by OLPC; all be it with a for-profit approach. Additionally, computer manufacturer Asus released its Eee PC; targeted towards both an educational and commercial purpose.

Table 2 illustrates a breakdown of the netbook market by market share; as of the end of 2008. Here, despite being credited with starting the netbook market, OLPC have already appeared to be nudged down by established for-profit companies.

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BSc Business Information Technology


Mini-note PC brand Acer Asus HP MSI Dell OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) Medion Kohjinsha Intel (Classmate reference design) Lenovo Toshiba All others Total

Volume (million) 2.15 1.70 0.33 0.32 0.16 0.13 0.13 0.06 0.06 0.04 0.03 0.51 5.61

Market share 38.3% 30.3% 5.8% 5.7% 2.8% 2.3% 2.3% 1.0% 1.0% 0.7% 0.5% 9.1% 100.0%

Table 2. Netbook shipment volume and market share by brand in 2008 (Q3) Source: Digitimes (2008)

Being a non-profit, OLPC may have had to rely on their innovative designs as a way of differentiating themselves within the mixed market. However, the question over if “too much innovation” is bad for OLPC, is brought up by Felten (2007). Here, it is considered that the likelihood of would-be innovations to fail is high. In the long run, more established companies enter the same space; often producing the same product but in a more expert and advanced way. For OLPC, this has already happened with the release of netbooks by experienced manufacturers such as Acer, Asus and HP (as shown in table 2). Therefore, a convergence of non-profit and forprofit organisations could be said to have happened within the netbook market.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Chapter Three – Non-Profit Management
Having established OLPC’s position within the non-profit sector, this chapter will aim to highlight the important aspects of non-profit management and how it has been used in the context of OLPC. Effective management can cover a wide range of areas from strategic planning to financing and marketing.

3.1 Leadership and the governing board
In a non-profit organisation, the role the leader takes has to “fit in terms of the mission of the institution and its values” (Drucker, 1990, p. 13). For Negroponte, he was able to take this idea further when he fully committed himself to the OLPC project after it was announced he had stepped down as MIT media lab chairman (MIT, 2006). Speaking at the Emerging Technologies Conference, Negroponte (2005) reiterated his desire and passion for the project by calling it the “most important thing I've ever done in my life”. In the same speech, he later clarified the intention to focus on education by describing the project as being “education project, not a laptop project”. Even at this early stage, Negroponte showed the strengths and attributes of a leader with his clear and precise goals for the project. In essence, he wanted to improve education and use it as a platform to solve the problems in the world; be it global poverty, the environment etc. Whilst it can be viewed that things such as leadership traits or characteristics do not exist (Drucker, 1990), Negroponte was able to draw upon many years of experience researching and publishing his views on digital technologies along with the contacts he had established. Rather than centring the organisation around himself, Negroponte talked about the venture being a collective project that would draw upon the strengths of its employees and partners; all with the expertise needed to drive the organisation’s initiatives forward.

Whilst they might not get recognised publicly, the supporting role of the governing board is worth consideration when it comes to making organisation-wide decisions. Governing boards can often be seen as being all powerful when it comes to setting overall strategies and decisions. However, Hudson (1995) points out that, more often than so, boards are “highly dependant on the staff not only for information and advice but for preparing strategies and plans” (p. 40). For OLPC, this may be the case as operating on a global scale could be hard to manage. Language differences in participating countries could cause barriers of communication. Therefore, local voluntary staff would play an important part in passing on feedback about

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BSc Business Information Technology


implemented laptop programs in local schools. From this, an organisation like OLPC would have the information to support future decision making.

A governing board would not be formed overnight and, just like with the life cycle of a product, a board needs time to mature until it reaches a stage where its members are adding significant value to the organisation. Hudson (1995, p. 43) does mention that the life cycle would vary for each individual organisation, however the pattern is universal enough to help create a visualisation of this idea (see figure 3.1).





Figure 3.1 Board behaviour moves forwards and backwards (Hudson, 1995, p. 45)

Here, Hudson (1995) describes the tendency for boards to constantly change their structure, either in a forwards or backwards movement. Within the ‘founding’ phase, the introduction of new board members, at staggered intervals, can cause certain members to resist change as their influence in decisions may become less important. Moving onto the ‘youthful’ stage, as a management team begins to form under the chief executive, the movement of responsibility may move down as the board takes a “back seat” (p. 44). A reassessment of the board may occur as discussions become lethargic and faith in the board is lost. The transition to the ‘adult’ phase may take longer to establish as its realised that more professionally skilled board members are needed. Original board members may decide to leave as relationships and business approaches conflict. The new board members risk “losing the mission that inspired the organization in the first place” (p. 45). Eventually moving onto the ‘mature’ phase, the board may adopt a relaxed role as new members, who may be experts in their own field, are appointed to the board. However, there is no guarantee that they will be fully involved within the organisation; often leading to past crises reoccurring such as resistance to change and resignations. The life cycle is viewed to be a continuous circle of events until the organisation eventually no longer exists.

3.1.1 The current state of OLPC’s leadership and board In the context of OLPC, it can argued that the organisation has already reached the maturity phase of the governing board life cycle, only to already be showing the signs of moving in a backwards direction. The organisation has been able to expand

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rapidly gaining partners and advisors from “academia, industry, the arts, business, and the open-source community” (OLPC, 2010d). The current board of directors already shows a host of influential names from established technology organisations such as Google and AMD, along with representatives from media companies like NewsCorp. However, in recent years, it has not been all plain sailing for OLPC which has also seen some important losses from its board. Most notably, the withdrawal of support from Intel (Krazit, 2008), after a dispute over the production of the rival laptop by Intel; the Classmate PC (further discussed in chapter four), can be seen as being a blow for the project. The synergies that may have arisen from both organisations may have brought a more technologically innovative product to the market; a view shared in an article by Charbax (2007).

Other prominent figures, who decided to leave the project after being involved since the beginning, included former president of software, Walter Bender, who was believed to have issues over the proposed movement away from “open-source software in favor of Windows XP” (Paul, 2008c). Linked with Hudson’s (1995) belief that some original board members will resign in the ‘adult’ phase when structural change is introduced, OLPC also saw the resignation of Ivan Krsti, the former director of security architecture, after Negroponte proposed the search for a CEO so that the organisation could “operate more like Microsoft” (Paul, 2008b). In his blog, Krsti (2008) comments on how he “cannot subscribe to the organization’s new aims or structure in good faith, nor can I reconcile them with my personal ethic”. Possibly the most significant loss for OLPC happened with the resignation of its founding chief information officer, Mary Lou Jepsen, as she pursued the idea to “commercialize technology she invented with OLPC” (Shah, 2007b), and thus forming, for-profit company, Pixel Qi (

So whilst the organisation has been able to rapidly grown in size over the space of a few years, the movement of people away from the board could imply that the organisation is now placed back into a youthful stage. Recent job cuts throughout the organisation (Musil, 2009), suggests a restructuring initiative is required to direct the organisation back into the right direction rather than digressing away from the original missions and values. Again linking back to Hudson (1995), a main attribute of being in the youthful stage is that the organisation starts to outgrow the capabilities of its leader (p. 44). Negroponte, himself, was quoted as saying he was not a true CEO with “management, administration, and details” being his weaknesses (Hamm, 2008). Therefore, a question could be raised about his leadership style not being suited to managing, what is essentially, a technology organisation; in contrast

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to his view that it is primarily an educational organisation/project. Negroponte’s strengths lie in his ability to create a vision to change the world. So you could say that he has been successful in bringing low-cost technology to the knowledge of governments and world leading figures as a means of supporting the development of children in developing countries.

3.2 The mission statement
The mission statement plays an important part in guiding an organisation towards achieving their goals and outlining their values. Phills (2005) describes it as being the reason “why people get up in the morning and go to work in a nonprofit” (p. 22). A solid mission statement could therefore help to create a strong workforce and ensure the individuals’ motives are purely self-rewarding. In marketing the mission statement, Kickingbird (2002) stresses the importance of having a mission statement that is “broad and flexible enough to anticipate and accommodate change”. She later highlights the need to change the statement from time to time possibly due to factors like a shift in “demographics and economics” (p. 328).

3.2.1 The changing nature of OLPC’s mission Whilst Kickingbird acknowledges the need for missions to evolve over time, there is the risk over either over-complicating or simplifying the mission. Worth (2009) identifies a trade-off between these two possibilities. A narrow statement may be “too constraining, making it impossible for the organization to grow or expand without going beyond its mission”. In contrast, a broad statement may “become meaningless and open the door to mission creep”; where the organisation gradually moves away from its original purpose and becomes distracted with other activities.

For OLPC, a willingness to frequently change their mission statement, despite only being in existence for a short time, has come under much criticism; much so by Vota (2010). Here, he counts that the mission has subtly changed four times (or possibly even more). Vota also mentions that on the official OLPC website, different versions of the mission statement seem to appear; specifically on the ‘mission’ and ‘vision’ pages. From research, it is hard to find a single unified mission statement from OLPC. It raises the question does a single mission actually exist? Or do OLPC operate on many smaller missions; each targeted to different areas such as education or technology?

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3.3 Strategy and business planning
The role of setting a strategy should be used not only to show what an organisation proposes to do, “but also what it decides not to do” (Kaplan & Nolan, 2001, p. 133). Therefore, it could be seen that a non-profit organisation may have the tendency to create many initiatives during its launch stage; whilst at the same time forgetting to focus on the philanthropic goals they want to achieve. Over time, the following issues should be considered when strategically planning in a non-profit environment:

Not being funder lead – Organisations take up projects only because the external funding is available. These may cause organisations to deviate away from what they want to focus on. Funding can be hard to come across for any non-profit organisation so there may be no alternative than to take the offer.

Being more than a collection of projects – A shift from being core funded to proposing to take on projects. These projects may have the tendency to operate separately from each other and may result in creating divisions from within.

Gaining a longer-term vision – Visions may tend to become short term. What were once long term structures and policies now rarely last a few years as management seek new ways to differentiate themselves; possibly as a way of responding to competition in the sector.

Taking on risk – As an organisation becomes more mature, there could be a liking to become more risk averse when faced with taking on new opportunities. Having a clear strategy in place could allow for better evaluation of new ideas.

Future sustainability – Having a clear strategic plan can help to build longer term plans rather than focusing on solving the short term issues. A focus on creating a lasting change should be considered as being important.

The culture resists changing – Volunteers associated with an organisation may have different relationships and agendas. These could clash as higher management change procedures in order for the organisation to survive.
Adapted from Lawrie (2007, pp. 2-3)

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3.3.1 A shift in strategy for OLPC? It can be easy to say that OLPC’s original mass production target of 5 to 15 million laptops in 2006, and by the end of 2007, 100 to 150 million, was too ambitious compared to what was actually produced; only 300,000 in 2007 reaching an expected 1 million in 2008 (Shah, 2007a). In conjunction with a host of other struggles such as originally targeted countries like India rejecting the idea (Longino, 2006) and lower than expected orders from participating governments; possibly due to the original minimum one million order requirement, it is no surprise that OLPC have had to continuously rethink their strategy in order to make the project succeed.

Currently, OLPC appears to be split into a variety of projects ranging from its official field volunteer program (OLPCorps) to engaging young students and adults in its OLPC Interns program. Also, as more countries sign up with interest in the project, the creation of country operated foundations appears to have emerged; still maintaining OLPC’s values and goals to deploy laptops into local schools. Although they do not seem to be officially endorsed by OLPC, these small local deployment efforts are run by groups of volunteers; thereby still following the characteristics of non-profit projects. Appendix D lists these known locations, using data as of August 2009. However, there could be a possible risk from having many small deployment programs running in succession. As the global expansion of deployment continues, OLPC may find themselves in the position where it becomes difficult to keep track of how and where programs are being run. Vota (2007) speculates “how many countries are really participating in One Laptop Per Child? Do you know? Does Nicholas Negroponte know?”. Whilst the definition of ‘participation’ can be vague, independent projects in countries like Austria ( do not seem to be fully recognised on the official OLPC deployment page.

Officially supported by OLPC, OLPCorps Africa is a grant run program which encourages volunteers to develop grassroots learning in an African country of choice. Whilst this can initially be seen as a good approach because of the cost savings made from using students along with harnessing their eager interest to spread the OLPC philosophy, criticisms of this approach are noticeable. Vota (2009) criticises only initially having a 10 week period for deployment describing it as “wastefully too short”. When compared to IT projects in a business environment, methodical planning and designing is needed first before the task of implementation can be carried out. Therefore, it would seem that a lot of pressure and responsibility is put on the students if the suggested sums of $35,000 are given to each project team.

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Rightly so, Vota considers students as being the “wrong implementers”, on the back of his own experience with a similar scheme called Geekcorps (

Figure 3.2 OLPCorps students with teachers at Kicukiro Primary (Stein, 2009)

However, as this program still continues to exist and expand in size (Marketwire, 2010), a feeling of hypocrisy could be felt especially when other OLPC programs such as ‘Give 1 Get 1’ (G1G1) and ‘Change the World’ have been dropped; citing problems such as a “drop-off in interest” and creating “very little” yield (Shah, 2009). Shah also reports on yet another change in approach by OLPC; a movement away from small-scale deployments back to a large-scaled effort. So before risking turning into a non-profit with a collection of projects, an issue as already identified by Lawrie (2007), OLPC appears to have focused on a direction for the future by scaling down. When economic factors come into play, most notably with the current global recession, a clear strategy could help to conserve the limited funds that a non-profit organisation, like OLPC, would operate on.

3.3.2 A lack of risk from OLPC Linked to Lawrie’s (2007) view that a non-profit may make use of less opportunities as a way of reducing risk, OLPC could be said to have acted in this way during the first few years of the project. Such examples include the decision not to initially take on the Microsoft XP operating software from the start of the project; at the time maintaining that OLPC “are a free and open-source shop” (Fisher, 2007). For the developing community behind OLPC, this initial philosophy would have pleased them because it showed a resilient view against being commercialised by implementing
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology 19

software created by a large multinational corporation like Microsoft. However, in reality, it became quickly apparent that governments wanted a version of the laptop with XP preinstalled; causing OLPC to rethink and eventually allow XP to be mass manufactured for the XO model from 2008 (Fildes, 2008). Ultimately, from not taking this approach earlier, OLPC potentially lost out on mass orders from governments; as was seen in Portugal where its government chose to order Intel Classmate PC’s instead because of the availability of XP software and better product support (Gardner, 2008).

In essence, OLPC experienced the basic business tradition of supply and demand. They underestimated the reality that having tried and tested software was an important criterion for governments. A competitor knew this and was able to supply their product meeting the demands of the market. Although OLPC reacted quickly, damage may have been already caused against their ethical goals because of the uturn made from their original stance against using commercialised software on its XO-1 laptops.

3.4 Summary
As highlighted earlier in the chapter, Lawrie (2007) identified some strategic issues that non-profit organisations should consider when planning for the future. For OLPC, it could be viewed that they could fall under some of these issues; or at least start to sway towards them. Currently, as OLPC seek to compete against competitors in the market, there could be a tendency to take on large-scaled projects only because the opportunity is available; as seen most recently with the agreement between OLPC and the East African Community (EAC) to deliver “30 million laptops to the region by 2015” (Fildes, 2010). When considered that OLPC have had difficulties in being able to create large bulk orders, and have yet to experience the levels of manufacturing to justify being able to manufacture and deliver 30 million laptops, it could be considered that OLPC are taking on a big risk; even more so than Lawrie would want from non-profit organisations.

Lawrie (2007) also identifies the likelihood of the organisation culture resisting on change. As OLPC have experienced, this has resulted in a loss in some of their influential board members who have gone off to pursue their own humanitarian efforts. So, whilst it may be considered as being bad for OLPC’s management, it could be said that there is also a positive effect from the departure of these board figures. Pixel Qi, set up by Mary Lou Jepsen, still maintain their charitable motives by

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BSc Business Information Technology


aiming to transform the accessibility of laptop screens; especially in developing regions. Also with the formation of Sugar Labs, OLPC have had an influence in creating separate spin-off organisations. If these relationships are maintained then OLPC could still maintain their longer-term visions, rather than becoming short-term; a common trend as pointed out by Lawrie (2007), for revolutionising the educational learning of children around the world.

To sum up, OLPC faces many challenges in terms of the management of the organisation. The key aspect to managing the organisation lies within the strength of having a well-defined mission statement. This should allow OLPC to set out their long-term visions and their approach to maintaining future sustainability; considered as being important issues to think about by Lawrie (2007).

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Chapter Four - Intel Classmate PC – A Brief Case Study
As briefly mentioned in chapter three, the relationship between Intel and OLPC broke down over Intel’s development of an alternative educational laptop; the Classmate PC. Essentially, both projects are similar; the major difference being that Intel uses a for-profit approach in marketing and selling their product. This chapter will briefly examine the market approach used by Intel and how they have been able to differentiate themselves in the very competitive netbook market.

4.1 History behind the Classmate PC
Originally unveiled as the Eduwise laptop in 2006, Intel’s entrance into the low-cost laptop market was seen as being a major threat to OLPC’s $100 laptop project; with Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, quoted as saying “nobody wants to cross the digital divide using yesterday's technology” (Ricker, 2006). Powered by computer technology from Intel themselves, Intel took a traditional chip manufacturer approach of only creating a reference design for a laptop. As a result, Classmate PC’s are manufactured by global original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s); each creating their own branded version of the Classmate PC to distribute locally.

The Classmate PC, whilst mainly targeted to governments, can also be brought by individuals directly from suppliers who manufacture and stock versions of the laptop.

Figure 4.1 Original ‘clamshell’ design of the Classmate PC (Intel Corp, 2007)

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4.2 Product development
Through their OEM partners, Intel has seen a variety of modified designs when compared to the original reference design of the Classmate PC. Some of these OEM branded Classmate laptops are as listed below: HCL MiLeap (India) Olidata JumPC (Italy) FTEC SmartBook (Malaysia) Neo eXplore (Philippines) CTL 2Go PC (United States)
Adapted from Intel Corp (2008)

Some of the most significant design changes have come from the help of American PC manufacturer, CTL. In early 2008, a 2nd generation version of the Classmate PC was officially presented at Intel's Developer Forum, with the interesting announcement that it would be freely available for purchase on consumer sites like Amazon; initially with a price tag of $400 (Malik, 2008).

During late 2008, another fundamental change to the Intel reference design was leaked by CTL and Intel; sporting a tablet-like design through the novelty of having a convertible screen, similar to that on the XO laptop (Stern, 2008).

Figure 4.2 Updated clamshell design (left), convertible design (right)

More recently, Intel have updated their Classmate convertible reference design with a focus on improving hardware specifications and incorporating slight cosmetic changes.

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The new design comes “rugged enough to survive a fall from the desktop and has a thick rubber coating that offers a good grip and is spillproof” (Ganapati, 2010)

4.3 Classmate PC distribution
In addition to OEM’s, Intel also works alongside original design manufacturers (ODM’s) and independent software vendors (ISV’s) to issue out Classmate PC’s in contracted regions. Figure 4.3 illustrates a shortened representation of how this model may work for Intel-powered Classmate PC’s.

Intel Hardware
(1) (2)

Key (1) gives reference design ISV’s (2) supplies software etc



(3) passes mass orders to

(4) allocates out to Local Schools

Figure 4.3 Distribution of Intel-powered Classmate PC’s

In addition, governments may also involve the assistance of local education service providers and system integrators before Classmate PC’s can be used by students in schools. Intel’s distribution model is likely to vary for each country; factors such as the level of government expenditure on education will impact on the reach of Classmate PC’s. Taking India for example, Intel had signed an agreement with three local PC vendors (HCL Infosystems, Wipro, and Zenith Computers). However, it became apparent that the price point of Classmate PC’s would not be cost effective for government-run schools, therefore prompting “Intel to target the device in the first phase at private schools” (Ribeiro, 2007).

Just from this basic example, it can be easy to see how successfully aligning the distribution process can be a complex task. However, being an experienced global company with many years of success, Intel has identified the best route to get a product to the market. Because of this, it appears that Intel-powered Classmate PC’s can be produced and delivered to the market in quick time; as what was expected when the Portuguese government ordered 500,000 Classmate PC’s with the view to implement them into schools for the “upcoming school year” (Dignan, 2008).

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BSc Business Information Technology


4.4 Marketing and pricing strategy
Other than just marketing their Classmate PC’s as being an alternative to aiding the education of children, Intel have a clear focus on promoting, what they call, 1:1 elearning. From a promotional leaflet, for Classmate PC’s, Intel states the following: “Intel-powered classmate PCs were designed to help schools implement 1:1 education. They provide a rich, interactive, fun learning experience for kids. And they give teachers new tools to engage students and enhance the classroom environment”
(Intel Corp, 2010, p. 1)

It is not just students who are viewed as benefiting from using Classmate PC’s. Intel also stresses the empowerment for teachers, who can enhance their own teaching experience. The software content of Classmate PC’s are marketed as allowing “teachers to be more responsive to the moment-by-moment needs of their students” (Intel Corp, 2010, p. 2). More surprisingly by Intel, they choose not to brand Classmate PC’s with their corporate logo, a move that prompts IT reviewer Lemon (2007) to observe that “corporate logos and marketing don't belong inside schools”.

The pricing policy used by Intel makes it difficult to put a real value of return when purchases are made by government and individuals. Greenemeier (2009) speculates that a basic Classmate PC costs about $300 to make, but this does not include software, installation and ongoing support. It is also important to remember that the contracted local manufacturer sets the final price for consumers and that Intel makes the majority of their income (and profit) from creating the processors. For Intel Atom processors, expected to be placed in new Classmate PC models, it has been speculated that Intel can expect very profitable yields of 90 per cent; a single processor is rumoured to cost $6-$8, to be sold onto system vendors at roughly $40 (Valich, 2008).

Further development on Atom processor technology, most notably the N450 model, can be expected to “significant manufacturing efficiencies as well”; through integrating graphics into the processor, thus potentially reducing the overall unit cost of a Classmate PC because of one less component, but still providing Intel with a greater profit margin when compared to older Atom processors (Hobbes, 2009).

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BSc Business Information Technology


4.5 Summary
The approach used by Intel is a simple one; they have identified their core competency in producing high quality computer processors and combined that with the vision of being able to power devices for use in enhancing learning. Being an established computer organisation, the for-profit approach used by Intel seems to have helped towards the good response in sales; two million Classmate PC’s are reportedly in use around the globe, with many more on order. This could be down to the hierarchical structure an organisation like Intel would have; with an important emphasis on meeting targets and objectives on a constant basis.

More interestingly, Intel’s Classmate PC project is not just a full for-profit venture. Intel also support community schemes in developing countries such as by providing a shared community Classmate laptop for those schools are cannot afford a fullscaled implementation at the present time; possibly with the view to secure relationships for the possible future order of laptops.

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BSc Business Information Technology


Chapter Five – Primary Research
This chapter will detail the methodology used to design the questionnaire along with reasoning behind the questions asked. Results obtained from the primary research will also be displayed. In addition to the statistical data, a general overview of responses will be further looked into.

5.1 Methodology
The questionnaire was available as an internet link by making use of the online application available on Internet forums were identified as a suitable means of communication in order to increase global coverage of the questionnaire. Rather than randomly placing the questionnaire link on various sites, targeted forums were identified on and

There was no limit concerning sample sizes because it was hard to tell how many people were going to see and click on the questionnaire link. The questionnaire was made available online for a period of 3 months to allow for enough time for analysis.

5.1.1 Questionnaire design The questionnaire contained a mixture of open and closed questions, using qualitative and quantitative methods. Consideration of the research ethics (Appendix B), as set by the University of Portsmouth, was adhered to at all times to ensure the research methods carries out were fair and not bias. Those who participated in the questionnaire were clearly made aware of the nature of the survey and were offered the chance of anonymity if they do not wish to have their real names or forum usernames included in the analysis of results. Data collected was not amended and it was clearly stated that electronic copies of questionnaires were to be destroyed once no longer needed. For the analysis of questionnaire data, the reporting tools on were used.

Table 3 looks at each proposed survey question and gives a brief explanation as to why the question is being asked, and for what type of information will be collected; quantitative or qualitative?

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1. Which of the following applies to you?


Reason for question
To find out whether the participants own an XO laptop themselves or have experience using one

2. How did you get your XO laptop?


To see how people got their XO laptop. Also looking to find any alternative sources of obtaining XO laptops

3. For what purpose do you use your XO laptop?


Why forum members have an XO laptop and what further purpose is it used for To find out how they perceive their experience of using the laptop

4. How would you rate your experience quantitative of using the XO laptop? 4(b). Briefly state why you think this 5. What year did you become aware of the OLPC initiative? 6. How would you rate the level of media coverage that OLPC has received? 7. How would you rank the following media as being key to advertising the OLPC initiative? 8. How would you rate the success of the XO laptop since its release? 8(b). Briefly state why you think this 9. Could the XO laptop compete commercially against current netbooks on the market? 9(b). Briefly state why you think this 10. What should be considered as most important to supporting the OLPC initiative? 11. Do you agree with the idea that OLPC should act more like a for-profit business in order to boost sales/success? 11(b). Briefly state why you think this 12. (From a business perspective) If you had to change anything about the OLPC initiative, what would it be and how would it change the organisation’s performance? qualitative qualitative quantitative qualitative quantitative qualitative quantitative quantitative quantitative quantitative qualitative quantitative

To expand on question 4 Are forum members the ‘early adopters’ or ‘laggards’ of OLPC Find out whether OLPC has achieved a good level of media attention. Could be linked with its perceived success (Q.6) To find out what is considered as being the most appropriate method for OLPC to advertise the laptop and goals Whether the XO could be considered as being a successful product or not To expand on question 8 Would it be viable for the XO to crossover to a commercial market but still maintain their non-profit status To expand on question 9 As OLPC incorporates both business and technical elements, which should be considered as needing more focus Would a for-profit approach benefit the management and organisation of OLPC and provide a better platform for the XO laptop to succeed To expand on question 11 To allow for future recommendations to be made. The idea is get general business proposals rather than on the technical side e.g. upgrading the hardware/software of the XO laptop

Table 3. Question justification for survey

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BSc Business Information Technology


Being short in length, the questionnaire was designed with consideration of forum users who prefer filling in questionnaires in a short period of time. For those who wished to make more input, further response was allowed in the style of answering open-ended questions. Appendix E shows the layout of the online questionnaire.

5.1.2 Questionnaire constraints Having the questionnaire in an electronic format, and only being accessible online, may bring up the concern over the validity of results collected. Fortunately, had the tools to trace the location of completed surveys by means of internet protocol (IP) address and local time of completion. However, this does not rule out the possibility of respondents completing multiple surveys on different computers and thus skewing the final results. Faith was therefore placed on the participants to ethically complete the questionnaire and not compromise the results. operates on a subscription-based model and a variety of packages are offered; each with different features enabled and disabled. Figure 5.1 briefly highlights the main differences between each package type.

Figure 5.1 SurveyGizmo account types (Widgix Software LLC, 2010a)

This questionnaire was created using the ‘Free’ package plan. This was because the level of respondents per month was not expected to exceed 250. Also, the extra functionalities on offer such as ‘File Upload Space’ or ‘Email Invitations’ were not required for this research project.

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5.1.3 Questionnaire response The response rate for the questionnaire was calculated at being 30 per cent. However, this calculation only makes use of the actual ‘completed’ responses against those which are, considered by SurveyGizmo as being, ‘abandoned’ (see figure 5.2).

Figure 5.2 SurveyGizmo summary of results (Widgix Software LLC, 2010b)

It is possible that these summary results could be considered as being skewed because of the way they are calculated. For example, a forum user may have clicked on the questionnaire link to initially view the questionnaire only to actually go back and complete the questionnaire a few hours/days later. It is unclear whether SurveyGizmo’s statistics algorithm makes an exception for this possibility. After further investigation, it was found that there is an option available to view abandoned survey data; holding details such as IP address and referrer link. However, this is only possible for ‘Enterprise’ account holders on SurveyGizmo.

Concerning the geographical location of responses, figure 5.2 shows a significant cluster of responses coming from the American region. This was to be expected considering the hosting location of the targeted internet forums being based in the US. Additionally, a majority of forum users got their interest in OLPC through purchasing a laptop from the G1G1 program (see figure 5.5); a program that was predominantly marketed only in US during the 2007 campaign.

The initial response level to the questionnaire was slow-paced. However, thanks to being given permission to post on the front page of the independently run site (see figure 5.3), by editor Wayan Vota, the number of responses increased rapidly.
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology 30

Figure 5.3 News posting of the questionnaire (Patel, 2009)

Of the two targeted forums that links to the questionnaire were posted; and, those from made up 72 per cent of the total respondents.

5.2 Questionnaire results
5.2.1 General questions These questions were asked to get a general overview of the forum users who responded to the questionnaire and to find out their purpose of having an interest in the XO laptop.

Select your Gender Male – 86% Female – 14%

Of the 70 respondents to the questionnaire, 60 declared themselves as being male in comparison to 10 who were female. From these results, it appears that the main audience for people, with an interest in the OLPC project, are male. It is important to note that, as an organisation, OLPC do not appear to gear themselves towards a specific gender group.

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Question 1: Which of the following applies to you?

I own an XO laptop I don't own an XO laptop but I have used one before None of the above

94% 6%


Figure 5.4 Relation to the XO laptop

The results in figure 5.4 show that the OLPC forum users were highly likely to own an XO laptop equating to 66 out of 70 people. Of the four who do not personally own one, they had previous experience of using the laptop.

5.2.2 The XO laptop Of the 66 respondents who owned an XO laptop, questions 2 and 3 were designed to find out how they came to own their laptop and for what primary purpose it is used. Question 4 asks for an experience rating of using the XO laptop.

Question 2: How did you get your XO laptop?

Through the Give 1 Get 1 program Through an auction site Other

84% 4% 12%

Figure 5.5 Method of obtaining the XO laptop

The Give 1 Get 1 program (as briefly discussed in chapter three), came out on top as the most popular of obtaining an XO laptop at 84 per cent (57 people). For people who selected the ‘other’ option, other methods of XO ownership included it being given as a donation, through a development program, loan from employer (Google).

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Question 3: For what purpose do you use your XO laptop?
Novelty item As a testing machine As an educational aid Travel laptop Other 24% 16% 7% 3% 50%

Figure 5.6 Main purpose of using the XO laptop

XO laptop owners were found to have varied uses for their laptop. Of all the responses, a quarter of the XO owners (16 people) only used the laptop as a novelty item closely followed by 11 people who saw it as a testing machine. Initially not part of the selection of answers, a common response under ‘Other’ saw the laptop being used a travel laptop/netbook. Using the laptop an eBook reader and as a self learning device were other common answers. Rather than using the laptop for one purpose, it was evident that the XO laptop was a very useful tool for multi-taking functions. Combinations such as being able to use it a portal device to surf the internet, check emails and carry out basic networking abilities seemed to be in keeping with OLPC’s target to produce a multi-functional laptop that is versatile and rugged for everyday use.

Question 4: How would you rate experience of using the XO laptop?

Excellent Very good Satisfied Not satisfied

9% 33% 41% 17%

Figure 5.7 Rated experience of using an XO laptop

The general response saw that 41 per cent (29 people) found their experience of using the XO laptop as being a satisfying one. The same amount of people also found the experience as being either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.

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Question 4b: Briefly state why you think this Common further comments included an impressed feeling over the design of the laptop when considering it has been built for children in mind. Some commented on the new interface as being slow and not useful for multi-tasking applications. Others cited technical faults and suggestion that users have to be technically knowledgeable to use the XO laptop. Few felt the price was justifiable for the hardware on offer.

5.2.3 The OLPC project The questions from now on focus on the OLPC, as an organisation, and were created to see the respondents’ awareness of the project along with their views on common issues/recommendations that OLPC face.

Question 5: What year did you become aware of the OLPC initiative?


Figure 5.8 The year which knowledge of the OLPC project occurred

OLPC formed in 2005, and the results in figure 5.8 show that the forum users knew about the project from an early stage. 33 people (60 per cent) were early observers of the project during either 2005 or 2006. 26 people (39 per cent) became aware in the year 2007; a time when OLPC became more mainstream.

However, as seen in the graph, there was a big drop-off in people becoming aware of the project for the years 2008 and beyond. This could be partly due to forum users being the early adopters of new technologies and as is to why the initial G1G1 program was a success; in contrast to the 90 per cent drop-off for the 2008 program, as explained earlier in chapter three.

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Question 6: How would you rate the level of media coverage that OLPC has received?

A lot of media coverage Moderate media coverage Little media coverage No media coverage

24% 41% 33% 2%

Figure 5.9 Perception of OLPC’s media coverage

It was found that respondents perceived OLPC’s media coverage to be generally good. When combined, 65 per cent (46 people) found OLPC to have moderate or a lot of media coverage. 35 per cent (24 people) believed that OLPC had little to no coverage.

Question 7: How would you rank the following media as being key to advertising the OLPC initiative?

Table 4. Ranked perception of the importance of advertising media

When asked to rank common media outlets (see table 4), respondents placed blogs, forums and newspapers/magazines amongst being the most important methods of reporting and showcasing the OLPC project. Old traditional media such as television, radio and white papers were considered as being less important.

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Question 8: How would you rate the success of the XO laptop since its release in 2007?

Very successful Successful Not successful

9% 77% 14%

Figure 5.10 Perception of OLPC’s success

The general view found that OLPC’s XO laptop has had a ‘successful’ impact since its release, with 77 per cent (54 people) thinking this. Nearly double the amount of people found the laptop’s release to be ‘not successful’ when compared to ‘very successful’.

Question 8b: Briefly state why you think this: The general consensus is that the XO laptop did well for what is wanted to achieve from the start. However, as time has passed on, there is some strong feeling that OLPC have not been able to adapt to the changing market considering what has occurred from within the business (as briefly discussed in chapter three). Some felt the goals have not, and will not, be met unless a drastic approach to change happens with its management.

Question 9: Could the XO laptop compete commercially against current netbooks on the market?

Yes No Undecided

23% 54% 23%

Figure 5.11 View of OLPC’s commercial viability

Over half the respondents (38 people) considered OLPC as not being capable of commercially competing in the netbook market. The same amount of people (16 each) were either undecided or thought OLPC could be competitive in the market.

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Question 9b: Briefly state why you think this: Many of the respondents acknowledged that the XO laptop helped to influence the netbook market especially with its low cost operating and innovative features. However, many feel the technology inside the XO laptop incomparable to other netbook models found in the market. Software and hardware differences are often cited as being problem areas for the XO laptop in becoming a commercial success. Future upgrade options are seen as the best approach to improve the longevity of the product.

Question 10: What should be considered as most important to supporting the OLPC initiative?

The business goals and objectives The technical specifications of the XO laptop Both have equal importance




Figure 5.12 Perceived focus for OLPC

Between the business and technical sides of OLPC, including the XO laptop, 71 per cent of respondents (50 people) found that both have equal importance to supporting the initiative. For those who did not select both, 20 per cent found the ‘business goals and objectives’ to be more important when compared to the ‘technical specification for the XO laptop’ (9 per cent).

Question 11: Do you agree with the idea that OLPC should act more like a for-profit business in order to boost sales/success?

Yes No Undecided

36% 40% 24%

Figure 5.13 View that OLPC should be more profit-driven

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When asked should OLPC act in a more for-profit way, a near split decision is seen between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with only a 4 per cent (3 people) difference between the two. 24 per cent (17 people) remained undecided with the view.

Question 11b: Briefly state why you think this: Those who selected ‘no’ (see figure 5.13) were often found to express their concerns over OLPC deviating away from their philanthropic goals; if they were to act in a more profit way. Due to the small scale of OLPC operations, when compared other netbook market leaders, it was believed that a for-profit approach would not be viable when costs such as wages and further research development would have to increase. In contrast, others expressed the possibility that offering a technically better product at a better price point would be able to achieve economies of scale if carefully managed. Some also pointed to the G1G1 program as being a step towards acting in a more for-profit way.

Question 12: (From a business perspective) If you had to change anything about the OLPC initiative, what would it be and how would it change the organisation’s performance?

One of the most common suggestions was to make XO laptop commercially available in retail stores; allowing for any profits to be routed back to the project. Some expressed their concerns over the bulk purchasing requirement and think it should be removed to prevent putting off prospective governments from making initial testing purchases. Rather than relying on one product, further proposed ideas include the production of many lines of laptop; each targeted towards a specific audience.

Additional ideas included the release of patented innovations in the XO laptop possibly out to other educational technology devices and working in a collaborative way. Some comments about communication throughout the organisation suggest the company should go back to their open-source roots and more freely allow the technical community, usually found on internet forums, to have a greater input into future development of the laptop.

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5.3 Summary of research
As was expected, the forum users who responded to the questionnaire were very knowledgeable and they gave very useful views regarding the OLPC initiative. Despite not being compulsory, all the open-ended questions provided some detailed reasoning’s for their choice of answers (see Appendix F).

It was evident that the respondents were mostly technically oriented in relation to the XO laptop, but they were able to give recommendations for how OLPC’s nonprofit approach to this project could be improved. This included the return of previous funding programs like G1G1 and the need for OLPC to go back to their original open-source roots and to not become commercialised by being dictated by industry-norm standards. This would help to ensure that OLPC remains a unique project and that it could continue for future years ahead.

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Chapter Six – Further Discussion
Now that all research has been gathered, this chapter will aim to find any similarities or differences between the primary and secondary sources. The chapter has been split into sub-sections, each highlighting the important areas of discussion which have been brought up and are relevant to the research question. Most responses were directed towards the G1G1 program hence why this is positioned first in the chapter. Appendix F contains all the responses from the qualitative questions from the online questionnaire (Appendix E).

6.1 The G1G1 program
Whilst being one of the most popular sources for an adult to obtain an XO laptop, and at the same time supporting the OLPC initiative by having an XO laptop donated to a child in a developing country, the G1G1 program was dropped following two very contrasting years of operation. An estimated 90 per cent decrease in purchases, from $35 million (2007 program) to a disappointing $3.5 million (2008 program), was seen. Negroponte conceded that this was not good enough and was quickly quoted to place the blame “in keeping with the economic times” (Shah, 2009). However, what we fail to hear more of, from OLPC, is of how the G1G1 program was managed during the two years. After the relative success of the first year’s program, it could be considered that OLPC were too eager to expand the program after just one year of operation. Buderi (2009) mentions the two/three-fold increase in G1G1’s advertising and marketing costs; coming “close to $20 million”, as being a good reason for OLPC’s operating budget taking a “huge blow”. There also seems to be less clarity over the deployment of G1G1 laptops in developing countries; leading to one response from the survey questioning why “we never hear about the laptops that have been deployed through the G1G1 campaign” (56578799). Another suggests OLPC should have been “more open…in order to get the public and governments excited and set expectations” (57642571). If this was the case, then OLPC may not have needed to quickly develop a new strategy in order to “make the project sustainable”; after the expected bulk orders from governments were not being fulfilled (Paul, 2009).

6.1.1 The G1G1 community G1G1 was clearly the most popular method of obtaining an XO laptop for those who answered the questionnaire; coming in at 84 per cent (figure 5.5). It could be said, as a direct consequence from the G1G1 program, a collection of online/offline

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communities were setup; dedicated to air personal views of OLPC and the XO laptop. One of the most popular communities can be found on’s forum. However, a common criticism aimed towards OLPC, as a non-profit organisation, is the failure to recognise the G1G1 community as an alternative source of helping OLPC achieving its mission; leading one person to say “OLPC almost totally ignores one of its greatest assets: the G1G1 community. With the right incentives this group could grow exponentially” (54857541). Another comments on how his XO laptop is an “eye-catcher…this gives me a great opportunity to talk about the technological advances made by OLPC to produce this machine and also the goals of the OLPC project” (56599264).

It was also found that, if given the chance, the community would be willing to support and technically develop towards future models of the XO laptop. One response calls for giving “skilled people a chance to hack/develop on the XO. To learn about it first hand. To blog about it” (56849838). For a non-profit organisation, this type of publicity and support could be seen as being invaluable in spreading the mission, rather than using up resources on advertising campaigns; which may have largely contributed to the reported “$1 million a month” in operating costs (Buderi, 2009). Linked to table 4, it was found that the ‘television’ and ‘public displays’ were ranked lower in importance for advertising the OLPC initiative. The blog approach suggested by respondent 56849838 would seem to be a more appropriate advertising method considering it was also ranked as being the most valuable advertising source, closely followed by internet forums.

Another outlook on the G1G1 program found the view that too many people “did not understand that the XO was a purpose built machine and thus were disappointed… This damaged the XO brand by creating a meme that the XO-1 was under powered and not a real computer” (56849838). This type of thought may have been a reason behind such incidences with the XO laptop where people were “excited to look at it. Within a couple minutes they are cursing and within 10 minutes they hand it back to me happy to never look at one again” (61654536). This brings up the question whether the G1G1 program, at first, should have been targeted to a select group of technical specialists rather than to the masses. This may have resulted in better constructive feedback on the technical side of the XO laptop and on OLPC as an organisation; covering areas such as how to deploy laptops and market educational products to prospective governments.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


6.1.2 G1G1 2010? Despite there being no plans for the G1G1 program to return for the coming year, possibly due to reasons such as the recession causing individuals/governments to scale back on purchases of XO laptop, research found that there is still a demand for the program to return. currently only has a G1 program where an individual can donate one or more laptops to children in developing countries; not getting one in return (see figure 6.1).

Figure 6.1 G1 program (, 2010)

Research found that the general view that G1G1 should become a permanent program. Although, OLPC should learn from the past difficulties they encountered in its 2007 and 2008 programs; with one person describing the “shipping issue for the original G1G1 was a pain” (56071275). The decision to leave delivery logistics to, during its 2008 program, was a welcomed one and warranted such survey responses asking to use “ right away for G1G1 program” but at the same time putting in a “reliable supply chain in place to quickly satisfy demand” (56664641); more to prevent past instances, such as when the delivery of XO laptops to the donors were delayed because of “high demand” and “production delays” (Paul, 2008a), from repeating again.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


6.2 OLPC’s management
Looking back at figure 2.2, OLPC would be placed under the organisation type ‘Nonprofit Organization’. OLPC would therefore heavily operate on the basis of funding from external sources and additional programs (as seen with the G1G1 program). However, that is not to say this is an easy process to manage especially with the negotiation processes a firm like OLPC would have to undertake in order to secure funding and bulk government orders for its XO laptops.

6.2.1 Change in direction When OLPC decided to go against their original open source motives and allow support for the Windows XP operating system (Fildes, 2008), this was seen to have driven the movement away from their original mission goals (Schestowitz, 2009). The view that the “world is MS trained” (57324557) could go as far to explain the reason why some governments wanted XP-only laptops; increasing the viability of XO laptops for the future and preparing children for the standardised software which they would be expected to learn. In contrast, one response from the survey believed that this change in direction is a problem because it “will produce more good little developing world cookie-cutter workers, rather than innovating, educated transformative humans” (56599264). It could then be viewed that OLPC wanted to move away from their sole educational objectives and goals, and were more interested in “getting as many laptops out there as possible, no matter the means” (Schestowitz, 2009).

More damaging for OLPC, was how this change in direction may have contributed to some of the losses in its board members (as briefly discussed in chapter three) and “the reason that Sugar Labs became it's own entity” (55019597). Rather than being concerned about the wishes of adults in higher government positions, and becoming yet another standardised laptop product, OLPC should be challenged to go back to their open source roots and “keep carving out a niche as an educational device for kids” (56679611). This may help to bring back the uniqueness of the project and attract greater attention from those wanting to move away from the current standardised products found in the market.

6.2.2 An educational or laptop project? The OLPC organisation remains adamant that the initiative is an ‘educational, not a laptop project’. Felsenstein (2007) highlights the point that in order for OLPC to be classed an educational product; they should “proceed from the basis of an analysis as to what is wrong with education in the developing world and how it could be
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology 43

fixed”. However, this still seems to have not been addressed with such responses from the survey questioning why they “could not find a lesson plan suggesting how to use it for certain ages” (56967703). This seems to be a significant issue especially in situations where schools do not have the additional funding for classroom support, maintenance etc; thus being “disregarded in the rush to get computers into children’s hands immediately” and thus “planning, pilot programs, evaluation, and staged implementation are eschewed” (Warschauer, 2009).

Operating as a non-profit, it would appear that OLPC have difficulty providing the resources in order to offer after support once laptops are deployed. Placing the responsibility with the school, or intern deployment volunteers, may affect the quality of learning for a child. As one response from the survey puts it, “agendas are no substitute for quality, and OLPC seemed to be far more motivated by deluded agendas than by any fundamental commitment to quality” (57171025).

To overcome these shortcomings and focusing issues, one survey response proposes the possibility of splitting the organisation up (further than what it is currently like; as displayed in table 1) where “one group should deal with tech, one group should deal with distribution, one group should deal with for-profit sales” (56617305). However, this approach would require a high level of communication and, with OLPC being a non-profit, it may be viewed that there are no clear communication procedures in place; “from what I read on olpc there is also a lack of communication between the grassroot and the HQ” (56617305). This would not be expected from a for-profit project such as Intel’s Classmate PC; where careful coordination between OEM’s, ODM’s and ISV’s is crucial to ensuring the correct implementation process and delivery of laptops to the customer; be it whether an individual purchaser or whole school department. OLPC were not able to offer this level of efficiency for its G1G1 program; when they had “to prioritize delivery of laptops to developing countries, which left many donors waiting” (Paul, 2008a).

6.3 The competing markets
As Vaughan-Nichols (2009) has already hypothesised the idea that OLPC kick started the netbook market; a common view shared by responses in the survey such as “olpc single-handedly created the netbook market” (55911245) and “it helped to start the netbook category of laptops” (56585524), the XO laptop now faces competition in the different markets they operate in. For the educational market, alternative products in the market include the Classmate PC (see chapter three) and, whilst not technically classed a portable device like a laptop, an advanced desktop
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology 44

virtualisation solution from US technology firm NComputing ( More interestingly, these two companies operate on a for-profit basis and recognise that they are competing with OLPC in the same market space. A for-profit approach may be a reason behind why these companies have been able to take potential XO laptop sales away from OLPC; as seen when the Portuguese government decided to purchase Intel Classmate PC’s over the XO (Dignan, 2008) and with NComputing winning a lucrative contract with “1.8 million schoolchildren in India” (Emigh, 2008) ahead of both OLPC and Intel, because of the abilities to offer a better quality and more cost-effective product for the purchasers to maintain in the future.

Whilst OLPC may not be focused on targeting this area, within the commercial sector, the rise in competition from established computer manufacturers such as Acer and Asus may be doing harm for OLPC in reaching their goals. These companies operate, again, in a for-profit way and are able to achieve the economies of scale to compete on price and manufacturing costs. Because of this, over 50 per cent of respondents in the survey believed that the XO laptop could not compete commercially against current netbooks in the market (figure 5.11).

6.3.1 A commercial approach One response views that OLPC “failed by trying to restrict itself to academia” (56581491). This brings up the question of whether OLPC’s decision to focus just on meeting education needs was the right approach. Research found a variety of additional uses for the XO laptop ranging from adults using it as a self learning tool for learning the Linux operating system and it even being used as a “portable unit on our boat” with such advantages identified as “power being one of the key. (Sail boats only have a small 12v budget)” (56634423). If OLPC was able to tap into these additional uses for the XO laptop, there could be a possibility to exploit areas of the laptop market which have not yet been indentified by larger for-profit organisations. This type of approach would be pushing OLPC towards a more for-profit structure and when looking at the results from question 11 (figure 5.13), there seems to be split decision on whether OLPC should deviate away from only targeting the educational market. If this was the case, then we possibly would not have seen the “revolution in portable, cheap computer hardware” which led to “LCD innovations and a greater consciousness for increased battery life and a smaller environmental impact” (56792352).

For those who did not believe the XO laptop could compete commercially, and in a for-profit way, it was clear that the “XO laptop is for children to learn better” and

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BSc Business Information Technology


that “netbooks are for adults with other kind of software” (54835724). It can also be viewed that, because of the demanding nature of consumers and the level of technology expected from a new product, “technology advances too fast for the OLPC platform to remain competitive” (56893081). Decentralising the organisation into separate divisions, as briefly mentioned in 6.3.2, could help to look after areas such as “electricity, Internet, microfinance, and electronic textbooks” (56763757); areas which, Negroponte was quoted as saying, OLPC are “simply not qualified to do so” (Camfield, 2009). A commercial arm to the organisation may help to give OLPC “the motivation to shake the bugs and missing features out of the product” (56581491).

Camfield (2009) suggests a more appropriate solution, incorporating a greater commercial approach whilst at the same time still maintaining the non-profit goals, in which OLPC should commercially sell at just above cost value to anyone rather than only to governments. Here, he sees the opportunity to sidestep the difficulties found in convincing governments of the value of the laptop. From this approach, it may help create “some side markets in support, software development for noneducational uses of the laptop like rural healthcare” and, to still maintain the educational goals of OLPC, it “could enable educational uses without going through the schools themselves” (Camfield (2009). Whilst this approach may be ideal, without the high level of economies of scale, OLPC may not be able to manufacturer XO laptops at a sustainable cost price for general consumer release. Maybe the question here is what kind of order levels are required to produce XO laptops at an efficient price?

6.4 New funding sources
The reduction in corporate sponsorship could be viewed to have overwhelmed “OLPC’s sustainability” and the reason why, “in order to compensate for lower resources, the organization was forced to cut half of its staff” (Paul 2009). Responses from the survey pointed towards OLPC’s inability to react more positively in the wake of reduced sponsorship money. Rather than cutting back on such programs like G1G1, responses from the survey suggested new alternative methods for OLPC to fund its mission and expand its operations.

With the XO laptop containing a range of technological innovations in low-cost computing, most notably with its low-powered LCD screen and long battery life, there is the opportunity to license out some of the patented innovations to other computing companies. Whilst this may cause more competition for the XO laptop, the licensing fees obtained could be reinvested back into research and development
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology 46

for future models of the XO laptop. Alternatively, OLPC could form closer collaborations with commercial companies; who could then distribute and brand XO laptops under their name. To fit closely with its educational purpose, one response calls for XO laptops to be made “available marketwise to parents and educators in the US. Have FisherPrice brand and sell them” (56634423). This approach would closely follow the distribution model that Intel’s Classmate PC uses (figure 4.3). Where Intel can achieve the economies of scale by allowing production of Classmate PC’s to occur locally, OLPC could benefit from lower distribution and manufacturing costs whilst at the same time helping to create jobs in those developing regions; an issue that could be considered as being just as important as revolutionising the development of children’s learning in developing countries.

Whilst not technically a way to increase funding, creating more alliances with non government organisations (NGO) could be a useful way for “OLPC in deploying more laptops effectively” (57746128). Here the idea is to create more pilot schemes in developed countries; leading to greater attention and additional funding to help support the mission in developing regions. As figure 5.9 shows, the level of perceived media coverage achieved by OLPC varied from little to moderate; with one person commenting that “where I live (Québec, Canada), hardly anybody has heard of the XO” and that “were it just for the mass media in my province, I would no close to zilch about the XO” (57013417). So the issue here is the need for OLPC to openly penetrate the developed world and get the benefits of using the XO laptop across more clearly; rather than relying on internet sources to market and update on the progress made from the OLPC initiative.

Becoming consultants; where OLPC would be in the “business of helping countries wanting to deploy computers running the sugar software in schools, and acquire internet connectivity” (56607485), could be considered as being a more drastic method of creating extra funds. As Sugar Labs now operates as a separate company away from OLPC, a more appropriate solution could be to create a strategic alliance between both companies; where Sugar Labs could provide the software expertise to support the consulting and for OLPC to supply the XO laptops. Encouraging recent news, where OLPC was able to sign a “permanent and royalty-free cross-licensing agreement” (Hartley, 2010) with innovative screen manufacturer Pixel Qi (formed by ex-OLPC employee Mary Lou Jepson), shows there are opportunities for OLPC to form exclusive agreements with external companies; even if having a humanitarian focus is considered as being an important condition of such agreements.

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BSc Business Information Technology


6.5 Future considerations for OLPC
For OLPC to continue as non-profit organisation, the general consensus is that OLPC should change the current way in which it is organised and managed; otherwise they could risk losing potential orders to more established names in the market such as Intel and NComputing. Beckford (2008) argues the case that OLPC would operate better as a for-profit as benefits can be achieved from having a “vibrant ecosystem”; where those entities that make up the background of OLPC could work together in being more innovative and the “amount of investment by all involved would increase far more significantly as sales grow”. These firms, behind the scenes, are already operating as for-profit companies and therefore are looking to achieve levels of efficiency to remain competitive in the market. The “competitive environment” is also seen by Beckford as a way of remaining innovative as “competition is the essence of what makes products and companies successful”. However, as already questioned by one response from the survey, it is “skeptical that profit and openness can coexist” (57853810), OLPC would have to decide whether they can maintain their original open source motives and, at the same time, cater towards the requirements made by governments and schools by producing the best low-cost laptop in the market.

As technology continues to evolve at a fast pace, OLPC should be aware of technological advancements in the market, especially when “you can buy $100 netbooks that are as good as the $200 XO” (56605868). Whilst the announcement of the XO-3 model has done well to publicise OLPC, it should be remembered that “CG mockups and philanthropic promises aren’t the same as real, shipping hardware” (Sorrel, 2009). Here it can be viewed that OLPC are, again, becoming too ambitious in their future intentions especially with the target of producing a $75 laptop with technology that does not exist at such a low cost. However, in a change from their current methods, “as OLPC assembles the components for its dream machine, it plans to open the architecture of the device to allow any other PC maker to take over the project” (Greenberg, 2009); it seems that OLPC wants to threaten the computing industry to create more cheaper laptops for the purpose of supporting educational needs of children in order to compete with the potential XO-3 model.

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BSc Business Information Technology


Chapter Seven – Conclusion
The purpose of this research project was to investigate the non-profit model used by OLPC and its effect on their success; or more specifically, the lack of success especially with the “hard lessons learned and challenges the organization faces” (Buderi, 2009). For a balanced argument, the for-profit approach, as adopted by other companies in the same market, was also referred to throughout (focusing on one main competitor in chapter four). The project objectives are outlined on page 3.

7.1 Conclusion of the project
The investigation has shown that OLPC’s approach in using a non-profit business has had a major effect in all areas of the organisation. To say that it has had a complete negative effect on the organisation would be unfair. Without the non-profit approach, the design and creation of innovative features in the XO laptop may not have occurred because there was a focus on creating a laptop at the lowest cost possible whilst still containing features to suit the target market; children. Negroponte is quoted as saying OLPC targets and challenges “things the normal commercial market won’t be pushing?” (Buderi, 2009). With OLPC’s formation, we may not have seen the creation of other humanitarian-driven projects such as Sugar Labs and Pixel Qi; both still work closely with OLPC. Having a non-profit status has also been identified as a good route to negotiating with governments and other leading charitable causes. Here, rather being driven by profit, the goal is to improve the humanity of those in less fortunate positions. With this comes the drive to continue and achieve the mission; OLPC have recently signed a partnership with EAC with the aim is to get “computers to every primary school child in East Africa” (Fildes, 2010). In the article, Matt Keller, of OLPC, is quoted to estimate that there are currently 1.6 million XO laptops around the world; with commitments for another 400,000.

On the other hand, the non-profit approach used by OLPC can be seen to have contributed to some of the downfalls they have experienced so far. The movement away from an open-source laptop approach was seen to be a driver behind such instances like the loss in its management team. The difference in OLPC’s and Intel’s motives was considered to be the main reason behind their initial partnership breaking down. In OLPC’s case, being a non-profit organisation during an economic recession was not the best combination; leading to programs like G1G1 having to be scrapped (Paul, 2009) and cuts in its staff being made (Musil, 2009) in order to survive on their tight budget they operate on.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Recommendations suggested for OLPC included the need for extra funding programs to be introduced. The G1G1 program was identified as being the most promising for OLPC; with calls for the program to return but with better management this time round. Additionally, more realistic targets were thought to lead to better results. OLPC were seen as being too ambitious in their distribution estimates and this would be something that should not continue otherwise the project could be deemed as being one lead by broken promises.

7.2 Answering the objectives
Before explaining how the objectives were met, it should first be considered if the correct objectives were set. As was found from the research, additional areas that could have been investigated included the educational impact of the XO laptop.

In answering the first objective, it was found that the non-profit sector is made up of a variety of organisation types. Appendix C lists these; as classified by the US IRS. Each classification has different requirements to each other; with some being able to claim tax-exempt status for each of their business operations. Worth (2009) identifies the common trend for non-profits to split up into different operations arms; as a workaround to the restrictions imposed by governments. OLPC could be viewed to have also taken this approach with the creation of their ‘foundation’ and ‘association’ arms (see Table 1). In relation to the public and private sectors, Gunn (2004) proposes the emergence of hybrid organisations as the boundaries between each industry sector are suggested to be merging together.

Answering objective 2, Phills (2005) describes the mission statement as being the reason “why people get up in the morning and go to work in a nonprofit” (p. 22). Table 1 lists the mission statements of OLPC’s operations. It appeared that OLPC have had the tendency to change their mission goals and objectives over the past few years; to much criticism from Vota (2010). Whilst Kickingbird (2002) recognises the need for mission statement to be flexible over time, Worth (2009) calls for this element of a non-profit to not become either narrowed or broad; otherwise there is a risk of the organisation not being able to meet their motives. In basic terms, OLPC’s vision is to change the way that children learn by making use of technology; specifically with the use of the XO laptop.

Upon answering objective 3, it was found that OLPC could be credited to have started the current netbook market and its rapid growth (Vaughan-Nichols, 2009). Table 2 looks at the other devices, which could be considered as being challengers to
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology 50

the XO laptop, and their market share as of 2008. With the fast changing nature of technology, the table may look different now; but shows that there is much competition in the market.

Chapter four looked into Intel’s approach for getting their Classmate PC design to the market. To reiterate the point, Intel use a for-profit approach in order to distribute and manufacture the Classmate PC; through the partnerships between OEM’s and OED’s. To answer objective 4, the many differences were learnt between OLPC’s non-profit approach and a for-profit approach; as used by Intel. The main ones are briefly highlighted below:

OLPC have control over the designs of the XO laptop whereas Intel only provide a reference design for their Classmate PC; which can be modified by its ODM’s/OEM’s.

OLPC source components through its partnerships with technology firms willing to fund and contribute to the mission. Intel provide and manufacture the main hardware components themselves.

OLPC oversee the production side by sending orders through to the one location that manufacturers them. Through their OEM’s, Intel have a global distribution network.

OLPC aim to produce at the lowest cost possible; targeting at $100. Intel allows their ODM’s/OEM’s to dictate the final price; the profit is made through providing the core hardware components.

OLPC target themselves towards governments; with the aim to achieve bulk orders which can then be distributed out. Intel allows for the product to be freely purchased by anyone.

To answer objective 5, it was generally found that the organisation has done well to achieve a majority of their goals, especially considering they are up against for-profit companies in the same market space. However, most of the articles read were also critical of the organisation and suggested change within its management and approach to meeting their goals. Some suggested ideas were also found to link OLPC to not falling under some of the strategy and business planning issues, specifically for non-profits; as identified by Lawrie (2007).

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


7.3 Limitations
The biggest limitation of the project was the short time given to complete the research. This resulted in some missed opportunities that may have contributed towards better results being achieved. These included the prospect of speaking to leading experts in the fields of technology and education. This would have required a lot of early planning and coordination of schedules. Furthermore, more responses from people directly involved in OLPC operations may have resulted in a more balanced argument against the research question asked.

The survey collected a total of 70 responses. Whilst this a good sample size, a greater variety of responses could have brought up more recommendations aimed towards OLPC and lead to better comparisons being discussed. In some brief feedback from the respondents, some felt more questions could have been asked to cover other areas of the organisation such as the impact of the XO laptop around the world; to produce more objective statistics. It was also felt that some questions were “too leading for an objective study” (59190192); namely questions 10 and 11.

It was also found that there was limited published literature concerning OLPC. This is because OLPC have only been in existence for the last few years. This brings up the question; is it too early in OLPC’s life cycle to assess whether it has been either a success or not?

7.4 Future expansions
The usual further expansion opportunities would be in getting a larger sample size and more face-to-face interviews with leading figures.

The research question asks vaguely for whether the organisation has been a success or not; the interpretation of it being a success can range from the amount of laptops sold or the new opportunities and innovations that OLPC have brought to the world. To extend the research question further, we could also look into the impact of the XO laptop from an educational point of view. Here, the idea would be to investigate whether the non-profit model used has been a ‘success’ in enhancing the learning for children in developing countries. This could be done with observational research from going into classrooms/schools and studying how the XO laptops are being used and the effects the non-profit business model has on logistics and local deployment. This approach would be more social sciencesoriented rather than business-oriented; as with this investigation.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


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Camfield, J. (2009, December 10). No OLPC Retail Sales? I'm Still Not Convinced. Retrieved April 18, 2010, from no_olpc_retail_sales.html

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BSc Business Information Technology


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Drucker, P. (1990). Managing the non-profit organization: practices and principles. New York: Harper Collins.

Emigh, J. (2008, October 14). Intel, OLPC lose to NComputing in the race for India. Retrieved April 18, 2010, from

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Felsenstein, L. (2007, March 14). The Real OLPC Debate: Laptop Project vs. Education Project. Retrieved April 17, 2010, from

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Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Fisher, K. (2007, May 3). OLPC project clarifies: no plans for Windows support. Retrieved March 4, 2010, from olpc-project-clarifies-no-plans-for-windows-support.ars

Ganapati, P. (2010, March 2). Intel’s New Convertible Classmate PC Doubles as EReader. Retrieved March 20, 2010, from

Gardner, D. (2008, October 6). Needy Children To Receive Laptops With Microsoft XP, Office. Retrieved March 4, 2010, from hardware/desktop/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=210700287

Greenemeier, L. (2009, January 8). New Tech Makes Classroom Computers a Reality Worldwide. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from

Gunn, C. (2004). Third-sector development: making up for the market. New York: ILR Press.

Hamm, S. (2008, March 5). Negroponte Seeks a Laptop CEO. Retrieved 13 March, 2010, from tc2008035_429837_page_2.htm

Hartley, A. (2010, March 31). Pixel Qi and OLPC team up to develop laptop screen tech. Retrieved April 18, 2010, from

HM Treasury. (2010). Public private partnerships. Retrieved February 22, 2010, from the UK Economics & Finance Ministry website:

Hobbes, J. (2009, August 10). Intel to squeeze more profit from netbooks with next generation. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from intel-to-squeeze-more-profit-from-netbooks-with-next-generation/

Hopkins, B.R. (2005). Nonprofit law made easy. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Hruska, J, (2009, January 12). Intel's 2G Classmate PC meant to be more than a mere machine. Retrieved March 20, 2010, from

Hudson, M. (1995). Managing without profit: the art of managing third-sector organizations. London: Penguin.

Iacolare, L. (2007, January 27). The Digital Divide: Issues And Possible Solutions. Retrieved February 11, 2010, from 01/27/the_digital_divide_issues_and.htm

Intel Corp. (2007). intel-classmate-pc-laptop. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from

Intel Corp. (2008). Intel – News Fact Sheet. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from

Intel Corp. (2010). Intel-powered classmate PCs - Advancing Education Worldwide. Retrieved March 22, 2010, from Intel’s Official Classmate PC website: brochure_%28English%29.pdf

Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. § 501(c) (2008).

IRS. (2009, September 15). Social Welfare Organizations. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from,,id=96178,00.html

iSuppli Corporation. (2008, December 23). Notebook PC Shipments Exceed Desktops for First Time in Q3. Retrieved February 10, 2010, from News/Pages/Notebook-PC-Shipments-Exceed-Desktops-for-First-Time-in-Q3.aspx

Kaplan, R.S., & Norton. D.P. (2001). The strategy-focused organization: how balanced scorecard companies thrive in the new business environment. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Kickingbird, L.S. (2002). Marketing Your Mission. In Futter, V. (Ed.), Nonprofit governance and management (pp. 323-333). Chicago: American Bar Association.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Krazit, T. (2008, January 8). Intel leaves the OLPC after dispute. Retrieved March 10, 2010, from cnet news website:

Krstić, I. (2008, March 18). Maintaining clarity. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from

Lawrie, A. (2007). The Complete guide to business and strategic planning for voluntary organisation (3rd ed.). London: Directory of Social Change.

Lemon, S. (2007, June 11). Hands on with Intel's Classmate PC. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from

Longino, C. (2006, July 26). India Says No Thanks To The $100 Laptop. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from

Lyons, M. (2001). Third Sector: The Contribution of Nonprofit and Cooperative Enterprises in Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin Academic.

Malik, H. (2008, April 3). Intel Classmate 2 Gets Official, Available for Individual Consumer Purchase. Retrieved March 19, 2010, from intel-classmate-2-gets-official-available-for-individual-consumer-purchase

Marketwire. (2010, January 21). One Laptop per Child Announces 2010 Field Volunteer and Internship Opportunities in Afghanistan, Cameroun, Haiti, Mali, Nicaragua, Palestinian Occupied Territories, Peru, and Rwanda. Retrieved March 4, 2010, from

McKinney, J.B., & Howard, L.C. (1998). Public administration: balancing power and accountability. Connecticut: Praeger.

MIT Media Lab. (n.d.). Nicholas Negroponte. Retrieved February 13, 2010, from

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Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Morley, D. (2008). Understanding Computers in a Changing Society. Massachusetts: Course Technology.

Musil, S. (2009, January 9). OLPC slashes workforce in half, cuts salaries. Retrieved March 12, 2010, from

Negroponte, N. (1995). Being digital. New York: Knopf.

Negroponte, N. (2005, September 28). The Hundred Dollar Laptop-Computing for Developing Nations. Technology Review’s Emerging Technologies Conference 2005. MIT Campus: Massachusetts. Retrieved March 6, 2010, from the MIT World website:

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Patel, M. (2009, December 15). Adult XO Users: Take OLPC Impact Survey!. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from adult_xo_users_take_olpc_impac.html

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Paul, R. (2008a, January 25). OLPC angering donors: "Give 1 Get 1... some day... probably". Retrieved April 15, 2010, from 2008/01/olpc-angering-donors-give-1-get-1-some-day-probably.ars

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BSc Business Information Technology


Shah, A. (2007b, December 31). OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen quits nonprofit effort. Retrieved March 11, 2010, from OLPC_CTO_Mary_Lou_Jepsen_quits_nonprofit_effort

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Worth, M.J. (2009). Nonprofit management: principles and practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications Inc.

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Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Appendix A – Project Initiation Document

School of Computing Final year project
Mikul Patel - PJS30

Project Initiation Document

Has the non-profit business model adopted by One Laptop Per Child hindered its success?

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Project Initiation Document
Basic details Student name: Mikul Patel (385951) Draft project title: Has the non-profit business model adopted by One Laptop Per Child hindered its success?

Course: Business Information Technology Project supervisor: Mrs Penny Hart

Outline of the project environment and problem to be solved Over recent years, the cost of producing affordable technology has drastically been reduced thanks the rise of powerful emerging countries such as India and China. With that comes the idea that technology has the potential to help aid education, especially in developing countries, and lessen the digital divide. There is no doubt that companies have realised this too with one of the first pioneers of mass introducing technology in the classroom being the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, fronted by former MIT chairman Nicholas Negroponte. The XO-1 laptop, released in 2007, is the company’s one and only product with a promised production cost of only $100. However, OLPC have adopted a unique approach in achieving their goals in that they operate as a non-profit company and sell only directly to governments, who then hand out the laptops into the classrooms. Project aim and objectives The aim of the project is to determine whether the decision to run OLPC as a non-profit has contributed to some of the failings that OLPC have experienced and to its worldwide success since its formation as a concept in January 2005. In order to meet this aim, there will be smaller objectives that will be looked into first such as analysing the current state of the OLPC project, what has contributed so far to its poor initial sales, who it has affected and what has resulted in the market from OLPC’s introduction. Project deliverables The project deliverables will include a final report document, consisting of both primary and secondary research that I will have carried out. This will include analysis of recent news topics and a survey of the public’s views surrounding OLPC. Project constraints Seeing as the OLPC project only came into existence in 2005, I may have to rely heavily on internet news sources and recently published journals. I could come across the situation where facts and figures are altered or incorrectly published. Therefore the integrity of data I collect will be important. Using a large variety of sources and cross
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology 64

referencing them for similarities and errors will be needed. Also, as I come across opinions made by authors, it would be my responsibility to assess whether their opinions are not bias to/against the OLPC project. Project approach My approach will aim to allow for a fair and non-biased review of OLPC’s business model and to answer the question ‘whether adopting a non-profit model was the right choice’. Ideally I will conclude with my final opinions and suggestions around the topic so it is vital that I approach this investigation with an open mind. Being a student, I believe there is still room for more improvement concerning my referencing skills and effective analysis readings. The university library promotes students to attend seminars aimed at improving the academic skills that future employees would expect from graduates. Facilities and resources I will need to make good use of the IT facilities at the university especially when it comes to viewing online library databases and journals that the university exclusively has access to. Topic areas to be covered would include computing, business and sociology. There should not be any constraints to using these resources as they are always available online. However, the odd occasion could arise where online resources are not accessible due to IT systems maintenance. These do not usually take long and the university usually makes sure all students are aware of any issues and scheduled maintenance via email. Log of risks As I am also studying other university units during the year, it is important that I manage my workload well so I do not fall behind on the project. Creating a weekly timetable allowing for days to concentrate on my other studies and days to work on my project investigation would be a good starting point. Naturally, I might not follow the timetable on certain weeks due to examination revision and other coursework deadlines. Therefore, I would need to reshuffle my timetable and identify other periods of free time I have spare to concentrate on my project investigation. Starting point for research The starting point for my research includes reading the following books: Managing the non-profit organization: practices and principles. Drucker, Peter F. Managing without profit: the art of managing third-sector organizations. Hudson, M. Crossing the chasm. Moore, Geoffrey A. The innovator's dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail. Christensen, Clayton M.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Making use of the official OLPC website ( and the officially linked articles from it would be useful. Also, the independently run site,, has a good collection of stories dedicated to the OLPC project. Project plan I have decided on setting myself three major project deadlines to meet over the coming months. Stage 1 will involve the gathering and analysis of all my research from primary and secondary sources. Moving onto stage 2, I will need to identify where to place the research findings in relation to the investigation chapter topics. Stage 3 will consist of completing draft write ups for each chapter and then finishing off with the final structured report. Stage 1 - October 19 to January 17 Stage 2 - January 18 to February 28 Stage 3 - March 1 to April 25 Stages are likely to overlap if I find that certain tasks take longer than expected to complete such as gathering my primary research data. Legal, ethical, professional, social issues Along with the legitimacy of articles and data that I will gather, another important consideration would be the nature of how I collect my primary research. My approach should be fair and there should be no external influences that would affect the opinions of people involved in my investigation.

Signatures Signature: Student: Client: Project supervisor: Date:

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Appendix B – Ethical examination checklist
PJE30 and PJS30 2009/2010 Ethical Examination Undergraduate Final Year Projects
School of Computing Faculty of Technology

Ethics Information: 12-point Checklist
1. Will the human subjects be exposed to any risks greater than those encountered in their normal lifestyle?
For example: could the study induce psychological stress or anxiety; is more than mild discomfort or pain likely to result from the study; will the study involve prolonged or repetitive activities? Investigators have a responsibility to protect human subjects from physical and mental harm during the investigation. The risk of harm must be deemed to be no greater than in their normal lifestyles.



Comments: Research will only involve asking subjects certain questions related to the topic area in which they already have an interested in. 2. Will the human subjects be exposed to any non-standard hardware or non-validated instruments?
Human subjects should not be exposed to any risks associated with the use of nonstandard equipment: anything other than pen-and-paper, or typical interactions with desktop, laptop PC’s, tablet PC’s, PDA’s or mobile phones are considered non-standard (for example, using a VR room) nor should they be subjected to nonvalidated instruments e.g. unscrutinised questionnaires.

Yes No

Comments: Internet accessible devices (desktop computers, laptop etc) could be used by the subjects to complete the survey questions. 3. Will the human subjects voluntarily give consent?
If the results of an evaluation (for example) are likely to be used beyond the term of the project (for example, software is to be deployed or data is to be published), then signed consent is necessary. A separate consent form should be signed by
Mikul Patel BSc Business Information Technology

Yes No


each human subject. Return of a consent email can constitute written consent if this has been made clear to the human subject. Otherwise verbal consent is sufficient and should be explicitly requested in the introductory script ( Information Sheet).

Comments: Subjects will be offered the option of remaining either anonymous or by a specified name when referencing their views. 4. Will any financial, or other, inducements (other than reasonable expenses and compensation for time) be offered to human subjects?
The payment of human subjects must not be used to coerce them against their better judgement, or to induce them to risk harm beyond that which they risk without payment in their normal lifestyle.

Yes No

Comments: No incentives or money will be offered to the subjects. They are free to choose whether they want to complete the survey or not. 5. Does the study involve human subjects who are unable to give informed consent (for example: children under 18, people with learning disabilities, unconscious patients).
Parental consent is required for human subjects under the age of 18. Additional consent is required for human subjects with impairments, and people assessed to be lacking in mental capacity. If consent is gained from a person other than the human subject themselves e.g. a parent, then written consent must be obtained.

Yes No

Comments: This is difficult to know because the subjects are only in contact over the internet, and not in person. Subjects will be asked for consent and will remain anonymous. 6. Are you in a position of authority or influence over any of your human subjects?
A person in a position of authority or influence over any human subject must not be allowed to pressurize them to take part in, or remain in, any study.

Yes No

Comments: Subjects will already have an interest in the topic area seeing as they are already signed up on a dedicated internet forum. It is unlikely that I will have influence as they are expected to have their own personal views around the topic area.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


7. Are the human subjects being provided with sufficient details of the study at an appropriate level of understanding?
All human subjects should be able to understand the information provided in any documentation and/or verbal information they receive about the experiment or study. They have the right to withdraw at any time during the investigation, and they must be able to contact the investigator after the investigation. They should be given the details of both student and supervisor as part of the debriefing. This information should be in the introductory script (Information Sheet).

Yes No

Comments: The purpose of the survey will be available to read before the subjects choose whether to take the survey or not. 8. After the study, will human subjects be provided with feedback about their involvement and be able to ask any questions they may have about this involvement?
If the human subjects request further information, the investigator must provide the human subjects with sufficient details to enable them to understand the nature of the investigation and their part in it.

Yes No

Comments: At the end of the survey, the subjects will have the option to request feedback if they wish so. 9. Will the human subjects be informed of the true aims and objectives of the study?
Withholding information or misleading human subjects is unacceptable if human subjects are likely to object or show unease when debriefed. It must be clear to human subjects if information is being withheld in order to elicit a true response. This should precede any analysis of the data.

Yes No

Comments: The subjects will be informed of the reasons behind the project and why research will be useful as part of the investigation. 10. Will the data collected from the human subjects be made available to others (where appropriate and only in relation to this research study), and be stored, in an anonymous form?
All human subject data (hard-copy and soft-copy) should both be stored securely and, if appropriate made available, in an anonymous form. Making human subject data available to a third party may be relevant where a student is taking part in a wider research project eg. for a member of the University staff, in which case anonymity of human subject data must be preserved.

Yes No

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Comments: An internet link to download the report will be posted on forum threads. Subjects will remain anonymous unless instructed otherwise 11. Will the study involve NHS patients, staff, or premises?
If yes, then an application must be made to the appropriate external NHS Local Research Ethics Committee (LREC). For projects other than postgraduate research studies, the length of time for gaining external approval may not fit into a project timescale.

Yes No

Comments: There will be no relation with the NHS at any stage of the study. 12. Will the study involve the investigator and/or any human subject, in activities that could be considered contentious, morally unacceptable, or illegal?
If yes, then further approval must be sought. For example: a project involving the study of pornography on the web will fall into this category. It is possible that the project may not be allowed to proceed.

Yes No

Comments: The study will not involve any illegal or ethically unaccepted practices. The data gathered will only represent the views of the individual and not be tied to any outside organisations.

Please attach the following: • Any Information Sheet(s) or introductory script(s) that the investigator has created for the benefit of the human subjects in the study. (See for examples of Information Sheets that set out details of a research study for human subjects). Any documentation that the investigator has created to gather informed consent from the human subjects. This may be an Informed Consent Form, or a form of wording used to get verbal consent. (See for an example of an Informed Consent Form for research study with human subjects).

(see next page for introductory scripts used in research)

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Introductory script (private messaged to forum admins):
Hello Admin of [forum name], I'm currently a final year student at the University of Portsmouth and I am undertaking research for my dissertation. My topic is based around the One Laptop per Child project and I have identified [forum name] as being a suitable location for carrying out some primary research. This would be in the form of a short questionnaire. I would very grateful if you would allow me to post my questionnaire up on your forum. To increase the response rate, I was thinking of having the questionnaire posted temporarily as a sticky thread or by sending a private message to active forum members to link them to the thread. I look forward to hearing your response. I could send you the questionnaire (via email) if you would like to look through it first before making a decision. Regards, Mikul Patel (Business information Technology at University of Portsmouth)

Introductory script (posted in new a thread after consented by admin):
Hello members of [forum name], I'm currently a final year student at the University of Portsmouth and I am undertaking research for my dissertation. My research is investigating how business model used by One Laptop per Child (OLPC) has affected its success. I would also like to get some brief views from actual users of the XO laptop or from people with an interest in the project. It would be much appreciated if you could spare a few minutes of your time to complete my questionnaire. Including your username would be very helpful for the purposes of easy referencing. Alternatively, you can just put your name as anon if you don’t want your username associated with the results. All participants will be thanked and acknowledged in my final dissertation report. Once the report is finished, all electronic copies of completed questionnaires will be deleted for data protection reasons. Regards, Mikul Patel (Business information Technology at University of Portsmouth)

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


By signing this form, I AGREE to abide by the decisions made in the above points. If at any time during my project, my answers would change from a white box to a grey box, then I MUST seek re-approval for my project. I understand that if I do not do so, then it is possible that I may FAIL the project component of my course. Student name: …….………………………………… Jupiter number: ………………. Student signature: ………………………………….. Date ……………………….….. Supervisor signature: ………………………………. Date …………………………..

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Appendix C – US Tax-Exempt Codes
501(c)(1) — Corporations Organized Under Act of Congress (including Federal Credit Unions). 501(c)(2) — Title Holding Corporation for Exempt Organization. 501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations. 501(c)(4) — Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees. 501(c)(5) — Labor, Agricultural, and Horticultural Organizations. 501(c)(6) — Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, Real Estate Boards, etc. 501(c)(7) — Social and Recreational Clubs. 501(c)(8) — Fraternal Beneficiary Societies and Associations. 501(c)(9) — Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Associations. 501(c)(10) — Domestic Fraternal Societies and Associations. 501(c)(11) — Teachers' Retirement Fund Associations. 501(c)(12) — Benevolent Life Insurance Associations, Mutual Ditch or Irrigation Companies, Mutual or Cooperative Telephone Companies, etc. 501(c)(13) — Cemetery Companies. 501(c)(14) — State-Chartered Credit Unions, Mutual Reserve Funds. 501(c)(15) — Mutual Insurance Companies or Associations. 501(c)(16) — Cooperative Organizations to Finance Crop Operations. 501(c)(17) — Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Trusts. 501(c)(18) — Employee Funded Pension Trust (created before June 25, 1959). 501(c)(19) — Post or Organization of Past or Present Members of Armed Forces. 501(c)(21) — Black lung Benefit Trusts. 501(c)(22) — Withdrawal Liability Payment Fund. 501(c)(23) — Veterans Organization (created before 1880). 501(c)(25) — Title Holding Corporations or Trusts with Multiple Parents. 501(c)(26) — State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals.

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury (2008, pp. 65-66)

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Appendix D - OLPC Worldwide Programs

Deployment Country
OLPC Afghanistan OLPC Australia OLPC Birmingham OLPC Brazil OLPC Cambodia OLPC Chiapas OLPC China OLPC Colombia OLPC Ethiopia OLPC France OLPC Friends OLPC G1G1 OLPC G1G1 2008 OLPC Ghana OLPC Guatemala OLPC Haiti OLPC India OLPC Iraq OLPC Italy OLPC Lebanon OLPC Mali OLPC Mexico OLPC Misc OLPC Mongolia OLPC Mozambique OLPC Nepal OLPC Nicaragua

XO’s delivered, shipped or ordered
5,000 1,500 14,000 2,600 1,000 40 1,000 4,000 5,900 100 80 78,500 6,500 1,100 3,000 13,700 750 1,150 600 450 30 50,000 3,500 10,100 200 2,500 5,000

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


OLPC Nigeria OLPC Nigeria (Jimeta) OLPC Niue OLPC Oceania OLPC Palestinian territories OLPC Papua New Guinea OLPC Paraguay OLPC Peru OLPC Rwanda OLPC Small groups OLPC South Africa OLPC Sri Lanka OLPC Thailand OLPC UK/Pilots/London2009 OLPC Uruguay OLPCorps 2009 OLPC Pakistan/Rawalpindi

6,000 100 500 4,500 1,000 100 4,000 290,000 120,000 13,500 650 1,350 5505 50 420,000 3,000 27

Source: OLPC Deployment Data (2009)

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Appendix E – Questionnaire Sample

Username (enter as 'anon' if you want your views to be anonymous):

Select your gender: Male Female

1. Which of the following applies to you: I own an XO laptop (move onto question 2) I don't own an XO laptop but I have used one before (skip to question 4) None of the above (skip to question 5)

2. How did you get your XO laptop? Through the Give 1 Get 1 program Given as a donation Through an auction site Other:

3. For what purpose do you use your XO laptop? As an educational aid As a testing machine Novelty item Other:

4. How would you rate your experience of using the XO laptop? Not satisfied Satisfied Very good Excellent

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


4 (b). Briefly state why you think this:

5. What year did you become aware of the OLPC initiative: 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

6. How would you rate the level of media coverage that OLPC has received? No media coverage Little media coverage Moderate media coverage A lot of media coverage

7. How would you rank the following media as being key to advertising the OLPC initiative? 1] 2] 3] 4] 5] 6] 7] 8] Blogs Forums Newspapers/magazines Public displays Radio Television White papers Word of mouth

8. How would you rate the success of the XO laptop since its release in 2007 Not successful Partially successful Very successful

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


8 (b). Briefly state why you think this:

9. Could the XO laptop compete commercially against current netbooks on the market? Yes No Undecided

9 (b). Briefly state why you think this:

10. What should be considered as most important to supporting the OLPC initiative: The business goals and objectives The technical specifications of the XO laptop Both have equal importance

11. Do you agree with the idea that OLPC should act more like a for-profit business in order to boost sales/success? Yes No Undecided

11 (b). Briefly state why you think this:

12. (From a business perspective) If you had to change anything about the OLPC initiative, what would it be and how would it change the organisation’s performance:

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Appendix F – Qualitative Data Responses
Q4. (a) How would you rate your experience of using the XO laptop? (b) Briefly state why you think this: Code 54835724 Value I like it very much, it is small, convenience, it has a lot of good programs like Etoys, Scratch and TurtleArt. Today I installed OpenOffice on it.

54858988 Good hardware marred by manufacturing defect, unfinished software, very slow 54857541 Using Teapot's Ubuntu, the XO is a fairly useful machine. The OLPC is heavily compromised towards younger users, and until very recently the OLPC project didn't do a good job of merging their kernel changes into the standard 54869902 linux kernel sources. So the keyboard kind of sucks, and it's hard to get anything but Sugar running on it. Also, unfortunately the OLPC uses an x86 CPU instead of a more power-efficient ARM CPU, so you wind up getting really poor performance per watt. 55019597 In a lot of respects, this is a great little computer. Rugged, small, great battery life, and just generally fun. Piqued my interest in Linux, so I'm enjoying this laptop more than any other computer I've owned.

55133052 Rugged, reliable, and simple. Fulfills my needs without overkill. 55251525

1. it is difficult and inconsistent accessing wifi signals that are no problem for other laptops to access. i mainly use my xo to go online and so it is useless when it can't connect to a hotspot to which everyone else can connect. 2. the operating system: 55911245 sugar v8.2 is still difficult to use, sugar-on-a-stick doesn't work on the xo, and i have not had success running another linux distro. 3. as an ebook reader the xo is nice but it doesn't save my place in the book and i can't load a file directly into write, i have to open it with browser first and that is annoying. I enjoyed my xo for the price. I learned a lot about programming and technology. Now that netbooks running familar operating systems are the same price or cheaper than the 56071275 XO, I don't know if XOs are practical anymore in the education environment in the United States. My XO is slow compared to even my smart phone now. xo accompanies me everywhere (and makes friends wherever I go), is not only versatile but also very durable, unlike other laptops.) Having the ability to install programs and to utilize commands in Terminal is a great feature. I would like to continue learning 56132791 Fedora's Linux and would welcome a Fedora group (rather than switching to Ubuntu). I plan to carry my own version of an "xo business card" to hand out whenever I'm xo-ing at cafes, etc. 56577531 I think it is a perfect machine for kids to focus on important computing lessons w/o the "noise" that you get with regular adult computers (mainly the internet surfing.) Even without an installation of Ubuntu, I found the XO perfect to use while reading in bed or for traveling.

56579512 works just as i had hoped it would..small internet tablet... 56578799

56582399 For the task it was designed to do, the machine performs fairly well. Sugar is slow, but not odious. Sufficient software is available to do most typical work, especially with a remote server as my software development box. Significant exceptions 56581491 include e-mail (using Sylpheed is slightly clunky), Office documents (until OOo4Kids releases and shrinks down), accessing Windows shared folders, and accessing external hard drives. 56583337 trackpad impossible; upgrading os is a multistage process i don't have time/interest in I am satisfied in what it does because I have adjusted my expectations to meet the capabilities of the XO. I used it for 2 months as my main computer, when I was 56585524 interning with OLPC in Mongolia. It got the job done for what I needed to do and I learned a lot about Linux in the process, which has opened new doors for me.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology




My Daughter loves hers and I think the educational activities in Sugar are great and will grow with her. I run Intrepid's Ubuntu ( on an SD card as an "adult" and professional OS on My XO when I travel. I use it for web-browsing, email, file editing, mathematical programing, video-watching, music and LaTeX typesetting. My 56599264 OLPC is certainly an eye-catcher and people talk to me about it wherever I am. This gives me a great opportunity to talk about the technological advances made by OLPC to produce this machine and also the goals of the OLPC project. Why did I not rate this as "excellent": I think they should have kept G1G1 going and I think that significant developed world deployments would advance the developing world goals of the OLPC. I also would like to be able to get a XO v1.5. 56605868 Performance is too slow. Not reliable. Doesn't function well. Too fragile. I am an adult, and I was not able to use it for my work. However I could tell that it 56607485 could be very suitable for children, especially those interested in programming. This is exactly- what I wish I had when I was 11 years old. Technical problems, i.e. touchpad not working as it should. Most of the software designed for classroom usage, but I know noone else having an XO. Sugar should work on ordinary PCs and netbooks now, but I haven't tried it. I think it would have been an 56617305 advantage if all the "activities" would have been made available cross-platform. It seems like my regular Ubuntu laptop with the Ubuntu software can be more useful as an educational tool. 56631301 In its original state, it is not a machine suitable for every day work (surfing, writing etc.) 56634423 validated the hardware design, (actually it spawned the netbook revolution). 56639375 Because my use of the xo is secondary to its primary educational mission in developing countries.

56640332 I am testing activities and daily-use details for projects in developing countries. 56650321 It's light, does not require much energy, it's got a dual screen... 56658633 -Undone OS -Lack of Flash support -Weak real world ready softwares Since I use it as a toy, and because the system is so easy to restore, I experiment with 56664641 other OSes. I also use it as my internet appliance when taking my other laptop on a trip is inconvenient. 56679611 does what i need it to do, browse websites, use if for skype definitely not designed for an adult, but kids have no problem using it -- mesh was very helpful. activities worked well. I have tweaked my own to use as a netbook when 56681087 traveling. No problems loading linux apps and movies onto an SD card and running from there. 56708402 It's an excellent machine for its purpose but not without flaws. 56761124 Does what I need it to. Took on trip to a devloping nation for blogging... worked great. Excellent hardware and software design, with some exceptions. Design not fully 56763757 implemented. Examples: Mesh network still has major problems; side panels of touchpad not functional; Journal not finished; Bitfrost security abandoned. 56769362 It is very appropriate technology for developing country children 56770890 I'm still getting used to the performance of the XO with Sugar, which I find quite poor. The collaborative aspect is very strong. Durable and takes a lot of punishment. Visible 56778761 screen in daylight is a plus. Able to be repaired easily by capable students/people. Easy to re-image. Mesh networking. 12V power 56776859 56792352 56845975 It is well-built, the battery life is good, the screen is excellent, Wi-Fi reception is excellent I generally bought the machine as a way to read ebooks and perform a few simple clerical and Internet tasks and it has served it's purpose. Customisation is non-intuitive for non-linux users. Laptop is underpowered for even its "native" applications.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology




From the beginning the software wasn't that good. Now it's quite good but there is still 56845487 some things that bother me. Mainly in the bad integration of "normal" Linuxapps. The small form factor and rugged design make it the perfect laptop for taking with me 56849838 on service calls and while traveling. The innovative technologies make it fun to tinker with in my spare time. The XO is a really good machine, but completely dedicated to child through the Sugar Interface. I'm using my XO for demonstrations of Sugar and also as a real computer for 56863484 me. It's sometimes difficult to do daily work with it : Sugar is so different from what we are used to work with. 56872790 It has proven to be rugged and energy efficient when powered by a solar panal for months in a marine environment even with many days offshore.

56893081 The system is too slow for an every day internet usage. 56949216 It is tough and does basic computing activities. 56965842 Initially (12/2007) described as more finished and feature-rich than as delivered. Developer documentation is VERY POOR -- I've been two years writing ONE activity.

I thought that it would be useful for children in both the 3rd world and the US for 56967703 homeschooling. It seemed too techy and the social side was missing. I could not find a lesson plan suggesting how to use it for certain ages. Well, I lost ability to use the laptop at one point because it didn't let me reconfigure the wireless connection so I had to re-flash it; I also expected to use it to learn music and it proved to be not suitable for something like Audacity; totem works fine though; one of 57013417 my kids briefly used the Speak activity, but other than that I ended up using the machine to browse the web; also, the keyboard is really not interesting to use for a good typist 57129714 Lightweight. Can install custom software. Low power consumption. Readable screen in daylight. Longer WiFi range

The software originally was unusable, and now is barely usable. The underlying paradigm is poor: having every single time you open the Terminal app logged in the Journal, while at the same time making it practically impossible to save and organize work in some sort of logical file structure (which IS there already; after all, it's Linuxbased) is just inexcusable. Certain parts of the hardware are great (screen, for 57171025 instance); certain other parts are poor (non-standard charging plug is just one of many examples.) To release this into the developing world, the software should have been ROCK SOLID; instead it was, and remains, a mess. Quite a pity, really. Agendas are no substitute for quality, and OLPC seemed to be far more motivated by deluded agendas than by any fundamental commitment to quality. 56671265 It is good for testing stuff and demos, but not powerful enough to regularly work on. 57198266 Sunlite-readable screen, good battery life, Ubuntu / Open Office alternate for my business work, VERY rugged and small.

57324557 reflective screen rugged construction low price Slow, immature OS, lack of updates, lack of working OLPC server software. Children do not have the patience of adults, and I haven't used a computer that takes this long to 57642571 launch programs since the elder days before Apple launched the Apple II. Did I say how slow it is? 57746128 Having updated the software, it is a useful laptop. 57769915 Good as ebook reader. mediocre web sufing 57853810 59190192 Battery life (6hrs-ish) isn't as long as i hoped, and the cpu isn't as fast as i'd like (has trouble playing higher resolution videos). Very functional, very simple. And at the time it didn't allow Microsoft products anywhere near it, which was nice.

I got an XO to actually use it myself. My needs were minimal, use it to access the 61654536 Internet, mostly to browse/read Web pages, write via applications like Google docs, and listen to music via applications like Pandora.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology


Q8. (a) How would you rate the success of the XO laptop since its release in 2007? (b) Briefly state why you think this: Code Value In spite of OLPC's top management's total ineptitude, the computer has managed to survive.

54835724 A few countries like to invest in something new, they prefer old things well known. 54857541

I think the OLPC XO, despite some problems, does a pretty good job at what it was intended to do. Despite my complaints as an end-user who is not in their target 54869902 audience, my impression is that when these laptops wind up in the hands of kids, good things happen. 55019597 55133052 The XO could have done MUCH better if the original G1G1 had been executed cleanly, and if they had not alienated their eager Linux fans by entertaining Microsoft. Deployment was not well organized. Product was not ready for first release. Once in user's hands, though, the XO generally fulfilled its mission. Not as much market penetration as hoped, but the hardware is awesome. HW version 1.5 (more speed) is a bit late to market. olpc single-handedly created the netbook market, and the xo is still technically superior other netbooks based on its display, rugged design, and 3 processors. i have not been following xo deployments oversees so i can't comment on international success or failure. It was a success for what it did at the time. It is a success for international computing, which is what is was designed for and revolutionized netbooks. 'Tho not completely qualified to answer this, I'd say XO needs a more successful G1G1 program. Call it the XO Computer Peace Corps and get Pres. Obama involved.

55255962 The project was effectively abandoned due to internecine warfare. 55251525


56071275 56132791

For the kids around the world, they are lucky to get to learn on the XO... too bad it was 56577531 not made more available to US kids who severly lack math and science skills with the XO could have improved. There has not been as much advancement as promised (or it's been VERY slow going) 56578799 or integration into classrooms and we never hear about the laptops that have been deployed through the G1G1 campaign. 56582399 Despite not achieving the 7M+ stated by NN, 1.5M served in 3 years is more than respectable.

Technically, it's a near success, as mentioned above. Commercially, it created the 56581491 netbook market. Unfortunately, it has failed by trying to restrict itself to academia, especially in locations where there are more pressing issues than Internet access. 56583337 sugar / olpc breakup was a distraction 56585524 It hasn't caught on per say, but there have been more than 1 million XOs deployed around the world, and it helped to start the netbook category of laptops.

-They have not deployed as many as they could have. -Flirting with Microsoft and alienating Open Source advocates was a mistake -Producing an Windows XO is a 56599264 problem because this will produce more good little developing world cookie-cutter workers, rather than innovating, educated transformative humans. 56605868 They have sold a lot of XOs, but not nearly as much as they sought to. --pros-- 1) I was impressed by the early machine I played with. I think it could be good to have in schools. There is a lot of potential still left in the OLPC concept. 2) I think that 56607485 OLPC has successfully introduced some innovative constructivist teaching methods by including the "Sugar" software which runs on the XO. --cons-- 3) The price is still too high. 4) The software/hardware is still a work in progress. 56617305 The program is still alive, that's a success in itself ... but there is clearly a lack of outreach, penetration and user satisfaction.

56621037 the hardware is great, the software is not great

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology




They should have opened this project to commercial customers NOT only in the G1G156631301 program. 56634423 56639375 56640332 56650321 Educators haven't hit their stride with Sugar yet. An Negroponte hasn't been the strongest leader of the project, in fact he has been inconsistant in his message. Seems to have made some progress in improving educational opportunities, but well short of goals. Good platform for our projects in developing countries, but electricity is still a challenging problem in remote areas. It's technically great, but it has not been deployed enough. And selling to Microsoft is definitely a very bad idea.

1 million units in distribution is something you can't ignore. However, unclear direction 56658633 of the organization and questionable hardware upgrade announcement hinders it from being successful entity. 56664641 It never achieved its stated goals. However, much was learned from the effort and it sparked competition among for-profit companies (think netbook computers).

It's been deployed to a fair number of kids around the world, spurred the netbook 56679611 industry. It always surprises me when people know what it is, so some of the media campaign must be working! I understand OLPC's desire *not* to be a laptop company -- but retail sales (thru an 56681087 offshoot or 3rd party) would have increased incomming $ and funded improvments in hardware faster. And increased public knowledge of the project. 56708402 a million kids can learn better now who would not have had that chance otherwise 56761124 Not sure they got the number of initiatives implemented as they intended. 56763757 More than a million XOs in use, but no plan for village electricity or Internet, terrible marketing, other planning deficiencies. They set overly ambitions goals, but I think the targets they've met are fantastic and a great step forward.

56769362 Predatroy competition and overly bureaucratic organisations 56770890

It is aimed at children and uses an intuitive interface. The ability to share activities 56778761 encourages collaboration and group work. Its deployment being subsidised by sponsors, reduces costs to schools. 56776859 There are around a million of them distributed worldwide and I keep track of various programs for them in various countries.

It put netbooks "on the map" and got many companies to create a revolution in 56792352 portable, cheap computer hardware and led to some LCD innovations and a greater consciousness for increased battery life and a smaller environmental impact 56845975 It isnt a $100 laptop, but reports suggest it is (or can be, given the right support and enviroment)successful at educational goals.

It still has to few educational programs, and the integration with "normal" Linuxapps is 56845487 an untapped resource. But all in all it's a great book reader and it's been deployed by oven 1 million kids. There are hundreds of thousands of XO's in the hands of children in developing nations. Even though the XO is not the worlds most powerful PC neither were the early 8 bit 56849838 machines I learned on and have very fond memories of. I can easily see a day 20+ years from now when a new generation of programmers and techies look back fondly on the XO's that gave them their start. 56855905 to many reasons to write here.... mostly because they weren't willing to sell.... 56863484 I think that the OLPC foundation should make easier the way to obtain XO laptops. This could enlarge the community and help little projects.

56893081 - Poor distribution network - Lack of software support 56949216 1 million have been distributed. Started netbook craze. 56965842 Rather than meet a target, OLPC re-defines it.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology




It was all hype. Not all. It was a good design and some good techie types. There was a 56967703 hole where there should have been lesson plan ideas. At least I could not find lesson plans. Up where I live (Québec, Canada), hardly anybody has heard of the XO. I know that some deployments/programs were and are still apparently successful (Uruguay, Nepal), 57013417 but that's because I drop by once in a while. Were it just for the mass media in my province, I would no close to zilch about the XO. XO-1 is relatively easy to do. Infrastructure to support it for its intended use (education) 57129714 is more difficult. Curriculum and educational environment is most difficult to do. Exponentially so. Continual deployment difficulties reported worldwide. Also, the education paradigm underlying OLPC is flawed - sacrificing so much functionality by having everything run in 57171025 Python emulation just so a minuscule number of students can re-write programs was an astonishingly poor decision. 56671265 Significant negative publicity. 57198266 Ignored domestic US market. 57298125 Its marketing job wasn't done as well as it could have been. 57324557 I have no knowledge on questions 7 & 8 57395650 it obtained a broader group of developers and target community of testers, as well as securing donations

The pricepoint has not been reached, major OS and hardware goals have not been met 57642571 (hand crank, solar cells, disbanding of the OS team). The project expected to count on G1G1 sales in developed countries to fund. Many XOs used by kids around the world. The XO laptop help move the netbook market 57746128 worldwide, which lowered costs and made other computers more likely to be used in educational settings. 57769915 interesting h/w, but what about the education? 57853810 I know many people who would like one, but can't buy one. 58088526 sales were much smaller that predicted. 59190192 Poor implementation. Insufficient effort has been put into curricula and guides for people who know nothing about computers--the target group of the OLPC project.

The XO has an interface that is very difficult to use. Apparently they wanted to create an interface that was "simple" but instead created something that is extremely difficult to figure out and to use. For example: There is no way to store a Wifi password. The idea 61654536 that the XO would only be used in rural areas where there was just 1 Wifi access point, that was open, is ridiculous. Most people in developing countries live in cities and I can't believe than an urban school would have an open Wifi access point.

Q9. (a) Could the XO laptop compete commercially against current netbooks on the market? (b) Briefly state why you think this: Code Value

They can't compete, they are addressed to different people. XO laptop is for children to 54835724 learn better, netbooks are for adults with other kind of software. 54858988 Too slow 54857541 As a "business", the OLPC is a disaster!! 54869902 It is just a little bit too under-powered, and because it runs Open Firmware rather than

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology



Value an EFI BIOS or a traditional BIOS, you can't boot anything on it out of the box, including popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu. It would have been better, in my opinion, if they had simply compromised fully in the direction of running Linux, and hit the higher point on the performance curve that that would have allowed at the price they were targeting.

There are benefits and drawbacks when comparing the XO to other netbooks. I think if it 55019597 were always available (not just special G1G1 offers) and if there was good support behind it (like HP, Dell, etc.) then it could compete. 55133052 Overpriced at $400. Hardware too limited for most users. 55255962 55251525 Although it started the netbook wave, they have overtaken as a general-purpose computer. I own both(2 XO Laptops and an Atom-based Asus Netbook). Most 2009 netbook buyers will want more speed (over 1.5GHz) and longer battery life (over 5 hours).

the display is better than anything on the market. and it swivels. it has 3 processors, very long battery life (although much shorter than the "days" originally advertised), and 55911245 a rugged design. i am not afraid to take my xo anywhere because if i drop it no damage will be done and no one would want to steal it because it is weird. i think the xo 1.5 could compete against current netbooks, but the xo 1.0 is too slow. The XO's hardware makes it so appropriate for children and for traveling -- in this way, it's far superior to the fragile, tiny, netbooks. But because the operating system is alien to most people and the fact that a netbook would be more likely to be compatible with various peripherals I'd need while traveling, I might consider a netbook over an XO. I'm 56071275 currently trying to decide whether to ask my school for netbooks or XOs for my students. XOs would last longer and be more sturdy, but would have less support. When I'm traveling, I no longer take my laptop, just my XO. It's a relief not to haul my fullsized laptop around. But I often borrow my husbands laptop because the XO is too frustrating. 56132791 Yes, with qualification-- give it a keyboard like the old Radio Shack Model 100--easy for adults as well as children.

56577531 If sold at the $200 with the 1.5 board. I believe that it could. I have smaller hands and find the keyboard usable, but male 56578799 counterparts with larger hands do not. As an ecologically friendly travel machine with kitsch factor, I believe that it is viable. When my desktop computer died, I used the XO for three full weeks exclusively, until 56581491 the new machine (a netbook) arrived. Since then, I've alternated using each. Some tweaks and additional features, and it would absolutely be ready for prime time. 56583337 1.5 is a mean machine! It is too disruptive and doesn't have the features that normal users want and think they 56585524 need. If people were more willing to accept Linux as their primary operating system, and willing to change their habits, then it could compete. It is a bit slower than many netbooks and the 1GB SSD is not enough. But its price point 56599264 might be able to overcome this. Also, potentially a beefed up version (more like v1.5) could be produced. 56605868 You can buy $100 netbooks that are as good as the $200 XO. 56607485 Do you mean for adults or kids? OLPC might be able to succeed selling their product to individual schools or parents. The XO is too limited to be useful to many adults.

It's more robust and children friendly than any of the competitors, and it spends less power ... but one of the biggest reasons why I bought it is actually the screen, being able to use it in sunshine and without wasting battery on the backlight is just awesome. 56617305 I'd really wish to have an ordinary laptop with same display technology. At the other hand, the machine is quite a bit underspec'ed and there are technical problems with it (i.e. the touchpad issue). 56621037 needs to be more user friendly to non tech users 56631301 Default-OS and overall machine performance can't compete with current netbooks. 56634423 Merely load an appropriate version of Linux and check it out. We use it as a portable

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology



Value unit on our boat. Lots of advantages, power being one of the key. (Sail boats only have a small 12v budget). Its mesh network is way ahead of the market yet.

56639375 Not its intent; the others are crafted to a developed country market and the xo is not. 56640332 Software is a bit unstable. 56650321 Although it's not as powerful as current netbooks, it's great in some other things, the dual screen for example. And in price it's unbeatable.

56658633 too underpowered. 56664641 Under-powered CPU and too little storage (RAM and SSD). underpowered. can't play flash videos well, or at all (most people just want to watch 56679611 youtube videos) maybe, if it was $200 (which I guess is 'technically what I paid for one in the G1G1 program) Yes and no... still least expensive, so very competitive there (other netbook manufacturers advertise units in the $200 range, but never produce in quantity and 56681087 upsell strongly to $400-500 units). But without matching increased speed and power found in the upsold netbooks 1st world consumers won't be interested in purchasing. But OLPC keeps stating that 1st world consumers aren't the target demographic. I've been using the 1.5 version for a few weeks. It is now fast enough to compete. And even the old XO has a lot going for it, including the software and the display. OTOH 56708402 there are rumors the display will be available in other laptops next year, and the Classmate's touchscreen and VGA out make up for the display. 56761124 Too slow. Was cutting edge at the time and started the whole trend imho. 56763757 The $1 gross margin on the XO cannot support retail sales. Retail is not the target market, which is group computing, where the XO excels.

It is not designed to compete. No other netboook is designed to do what the XO does. It 56769362 is the only netbook that can be reliably used in developing countries. All other netbooks are designed for urban use Performance wise it's just doesn't seem to match up (I don't know that much about 56770890 XO1.5 specs though). But it is a *different* kind of laptop, very cute and aimed at kids. I think it has a fair chance using that angle. It is hardy, durable, the screen is readable in sunlight. Runs on 12V, and has Linux 56778761 operating system.However, it must have the ability to print and an easier way to store and retrieve files. The XO 1.5 will probably solve this. The OLPC 1.5 with it's faster processor and more memory would be comparable to a lot 56776859 of netbooks available (and is better built than most of them and has a better screen and tablet mode. There are no tablet convertable netbooks that I know of.) 56792352 56845975 Not with only a 433 MHz Processor and no dedicated 3d graphics chip. It also would need a larger SSD and more ram to be competitive in the global marketplace Lots of the current netbooks are crap. OLPC might need better operating system/support, though.

It has great hardware, but it's not the kind of stuff that the general netbookowner wants. In some aspects it is very competitive like the screen, roughness and battery life. 56845487 But it lacks in the ability to play youtube videos, average speed when surfing, rather small storage space etc. Too many people lack the knowledge to see the potential of an XO. Basically in their minds if it doesn't run Windows and cant do Flash videos it's not a computer. The 56849838 problem isn't with the XO the problem is with the computer as appliance world that Microsoft created. 56855905 software isn't stable/complete enough 56863484 Not for the moment, but I think the XO 1.5 could compete in educational and geek markets.

Technology advances too fast for the OLPC platform to remain competitive. The only 56893081 other way to overcome this would have been to put more energy to the OS/software development to compensate for an aging hardware.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology




56949216 processor too slow, memory to small. Won't run flash Could but won't because they don't know how to do a commercial product -- the G1G1 56965842 order fulfilment was a disaster and the "attitude problem" with respect to proprietary formats has crippled the XO since day one. There are some very good assets to the XO : screen (backlit, swappable, etc.), ruggedness, wireless hub, etc but some serious drawbacks most important of which is 57013417 running a special purpose OS (Sugar) and the keyboard that won't allow people to type normally. That said, if educational tool were so great that it made Sugar a must, then there is a niche for the XO. Not just agains COTS machines netbooks 57129714 Not fast enough. No hard drive. Does not run Windoze. The software stability is poor - no one will be pleased by a laptop that takes so long to boot and then freezes up so readily. The keyboard is grotesque - I find even small 57171025 children don't like it. And finally, the computer would have to ditch Sugar and have a better OS to even have a prayer of commercial success. Everywhere I take it, the kids want to know where they can buy one like's 57198266 obviously kid friendly. All my nephews and nieces want there is a high demand. My kids (8 and 11) demonstrate it to their friends. 57298125 It is just a little bit to much of a toy. 57324557 because the world is MS trained 57395650 it's just not built for our needs - HD video, mass storage, quick browsing Too slow and limited when compared to even the smallest netbook running Linux. With 57642571 the NetBook remix of ubuntu a stable, tested, operating system has been released that is low/no cost to the manufacturers. The XO has been a force in the netbook marketplace, especially because the XO is 57746128 priced closer to its manufacturing cost. Regarding question 10. OLPC, I think, has operational goals not business goals and objectives. 57769915 57853810 todays netbooks have evolved beyond the xo-1 larger screens, more storage better networking, faster processors. It's better than most netbooks i've seen -- more rugged, better battery, better software, better screen.

58088526 too slow. The screen, in particular, would probably get it some buys. That aside, the easy functionality of the operating system trumps that of the Acer netbook (at least, it did as 59190192 of a year ago, when my wife got one). The camera is a nice perk. That said, the fact that Acer just cut one of their netbooks down to $200 might hurt. The ideal time to do it was...earlier. The interface is unusable. I've handed my XO to almost all of friends, many of whom are programmers in various languages. The reaction is always the same. They are excited to look at it. Within a couple minutes they are cursing and within 10 minutes they hand it back to me happy to never look at one again.


Q11. (a) Do you agree with the idea that OLPC should act more like a for-profit business in order to boost sales/success? (b) Briefly state why you think this: Code 54835724 Value For-profit business are the same like the others that don't think to improve education of poor children, on the contrary they think about money.

54858988 They can't compete, and they would lose what is left of their volunteer goodwill.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology




OLPC almost totally ignores one of its greatest assets: the G1G1 community. With the 54857541 right incentives this group could grow exponentially. People work on things that satisfy their needs. The number of people for whom a non54869902 profit-only OLPC satisfies their needs is much smaller than the number of people whose needs would be satisfied by an OLPC that was available to anyone who wanted one. I think the XO would gain a lot more traction if it were available in Best Buy, Wal-Mart, 55019597 etc. So far it's only been a special small group of focused fans that have bought and supported XO's. 55133052 For-profit business model would encourage greater efficiency. 55255962 The for-profit model would not increase third-world penetration. 55251525 I'm undecided. Altruistic goals meet dog-eat-dog capitalism. 55911245 i don't know much about business. I got into this not to buy a product but to support a movement. Whatever the XOs failings are as a machine for me in a 1st world country are minor compared to what can be accomplished with the xo worldwide. When I buy my netbook, I'll be buying yet 56071275 another electronic piece of equipment headed for the landfill in a few years. When I bought my XO, I bought into an idea and that's powerful. Without the idea behind it, it's simply a nice but underpowered and clunky laptop. 56132791 Money moves mountains! 56577531 a for-profit would better sustain itself... plus do better getting the word out. I believe it's important to keep in mind that they are a company who is going to have to 56578799 try and sell some laptops in order to have the credibility and funding to make advancements. So far, it hasn't succeeded well on those terms. Competing in the commercial sector 56581491 could give them the motivation to shake the bugs and missing features out of the product. Sometimes, I think that OLPC has done it's job in some ways, and doesn't really need to continue to push computers to developing nations. On the other hand, I saw XO's in the 56585524 hands of kids in Mongolia, and taught a lot of them myself, so I know that getting computers into kids' hands is a worthy endeavor. I think they should sell XOs in the developed world to subsidize deployment in the 56599264 developing world, build a larger user-base and generate new content. But they should not be "for-profit" and nor should they act that way. 56605868 The machine should be available at a retail price to whomever wishes to buy it. 56607485 Again, I don't think there is an adult market for the XO (running sugar). If OLPC sells XOs to parents and schools, it would have to support them.

This seems like a no-brainer to me - if the organization would have sold units for a 56617305 profit, there would have been benefits due to increased penetration, more user contributed content, and more money for the organization. 56621037 OLPC can improve without turning to a for-profit mindset 56631301 See my remarks under (8). 56634423 It's an education project. The commercial monopoly would crush it. 56640332 A bit more tech support would go a long way. 56658633 not sure at this point. 56664641 Needs to build better supply chain and marketing efforts. The computer itself needs to be beefed up to compete successfully against netbooks.

don't feel strongly about this, i think OLPC should do whatever it needs to do to stay afloat (i.e. pay its staff and developers) no point in trying to make it go against superior 56679611 netbooks, better to keep carving out a niche as an educational device for kids in developing countries. 56681087 Increased sales lead to greater awareness for project and help fund the project. Even at $250-$300 the XO would be cheaper than most netbooks. And economies of scale would

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology



Value finally kick in and decrease the price of manufacturing the unit.

The XO owes a lot to the world-wide community of volunteers. If it acted like the other short-sighted get-rich-fast companies we'd get another Windows Netbook. That said, 56708402 OLPC should find ways to make the machines available for purchase to anyone who wants them. 56761124 Get more $$$ behind the goals. OLPC should concentrate on its mission of creating the best possible educational computer, and on cooperation with Sugar Labs on the best possible educational 56763757 software. A separate for-profit company should be started to pursue electricity, Internet, microfinance, and electronic textbooks written on contract. Explanations at 56769362 The principle goal is to improve education in developing countries. That is not a profit making exercise.

I think they're moving forward with their goals. I'd be concerned that acting like a for56770890 profit business makes them more likely to make decisions as to how they impact the bottom line rather than how they impact education. 56778761 56776859 OLPC should remain non profit. However, a sister organisation could be set up with the purpose of making the XO laptop available to anyone who wished to purchase it. Selling them would boost recognition and revenue if it were done in the West, and there are a lot of people who would buy an OLPC 1.5 or 1.75, including myself.

Innovations need funds, it's just that simple Intel and AMD couldn't continue to improve 56792352 there chips if thy didn't have a constant and good revenue stream, it should be these innovation that drive the future I think it would have been a good idea two years ago, when there still was a window of 56845487 opportunity. Nowadays I'm not that sure that there is anything to gain from being more like a business. The XO was never intended to be a commercial laptop. Moving in a direction that would make it such would: 1. Steal resources and focus from the Goal of the project (Education, opportunity) 2. A commercially viable XO would most certianly end up 56849838 looking like every other generic netbook. Most Likely running Windows. The modern configuration of a comercially viable laptop is one the inhibits users learning about programming, computers, how they work, and seeks to chain the user to a brand through barriers and enforced ignorance. Not good for an education project. 56855905 They need to have feedback and thus they need to have many hands on the little green machines...

56863484 Totally yes, but we don't forget the non-profit way and the first goals of OLPC. Business success is relied on market measurements that would result in direct actions 56893081 for improvement. Also, a for-profit business would result in an increased man-power that will necessarily improve software and hardware developments. 56949216 The idea is a good one, but simply selling is not the point. I believe they are too late now. The commercial netbooks do more for the developed world. OLPC would do better to stick to an "education machine" for developing 56965842 countries. But even to succeed there, OLPC needs to do more outreach to technicallyoriented volunteers. I'm tempted to say no. To me, OLPC is to Asus what Wikipedia is to Britannica. It should be a hub where technical development and refinement of educational applications that run on that equipment are done. I still think OLPC should do business with governments 57013417 rather than Future Shop but at the same time a strong marketing team going around in schools to show how those little green machines can let people share activities and things like that would be very good. 57129714 57171025 While sales will drive down the price, the goal is to reform the educational process which is more of a mission than a business. And a tough mission to boot. The ivory-tower approach that OLPC took is just repugnant - instead of saying "let's help the developing world by giving them a sturdy, cheap, and efficient laptop" they took the

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology



Value attitude of "the developing world is too dumb to figure out a computer, so we'll give them one with software that treats them like infants, then make it REALLY SLOW so that anyone with other than an abnormally-long attention span will get frustrated with it."

56671265 It should focus on serving children, and should keep open with minimal financial goals. I think their focus is right, on providing technology rugged and simple enough to be in 57198266 the 3rd world. Pure profit would have them focus on the US rich kid market, and the 3rd world would not be effectively addressed. 57298125 Because that is who they are competing with and where their money will come from. 57324557 The customers are not motivated by "what is cool". 57395650 they might gain a lot more credibility 57642571 They already did behave as a for-profit. Expecting G1G1 sales to fund the OLPC initiative is behavior one would expect from a for profit organization.

I suppose OLPC could improve its operational strategy without taking on the burdens of 57746128 profit-reporting status. Merely changing to be a for profit business without a realignment of its operational processes would be fraught with many downsides. 57769915 if it tries to be a h/w co. the people in Taiwan will eat them for breakfast. The education mission is where it should focus.

It seems to me that the "grassroots" not-for-profit model was the source for most of the 57853810 innovation -- especially the use of linux and other open source stuff. I'm skeptical that profit and openness can coexist :, but am not against trying. 59190192 Economics of scale. I already felt this way, but I should note that this question is almost too leading for an objective study.

It's not the business model, it's the design. The developers tried to jam all this cutting edge equipment into the XO and then expected the cost would be very cheap. It's not going to happen. You can buy a laptop for about $300 and a netbook for even less. The 61654536 goal of a $100 laptop is probably going to happen for a netbook very soon. They need low-cost equipment (not cutting edge) and an interface that is easy to use. Then people will want to use it.

Q12. (From a business perspective) If you had to change anything about the OLPC initiative, what would it be and how would it change the organisation’s performance: Code Value I think this initiative it can't work for business perspective, education is different. We think first on children and their wellbeing. ATTENTION!!! I had to answer the 10 question, but my answer is none of them. What should be considered as most important to supporting the OLPC initiative? CHILDREN


54858988 See if you can recruit some business people to contribute to the day-to-day operations. OLPC should look carefully at the Paul Newman Gourmet Foods model. They make an EXCELLENT line of gourmet foods (and command a premium price)...and all of the profits go to charity. OLPC should strive to have an avant garde piece of hardware at a 54857541 competitive price in the open commercial market, aggressively advertised, with superior service and support. Profits would underwrite the charitable component of the operation. It might be desirable to have more than one line of computers: a high-tech commercial model vs. a low-tech student model. 54869902 Sell the laptops to anyone who wants one. 54875417 Provide a better quality/efficiency software 55019597 Change #1: Go back to your roots. I think the OLPC initiative made a MAJOR mistake when they turned their back on one of their core principles, that is, to remain an open

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology



Value source project for both software and hardware. Once OLPC began to compromise and work closely with Microsoft, it caused a major rift. This was the reason that Sugar Labs became it's own entity. I think that OLPC should return to their roots, mend the broken bridges, and press forward with 100% open source software and hardware.

55255962 Install competent management, both at the organizational and development levels. 56071275 The shipping issue for the original G1G1 was a pain. I'm not sure what specifically I'd change, though.

Every XO user is a potential sales rep. and should be given clear methods of spreading 56132791 the word, e.g. "business cards" to hand out to the curious onlookers (and there are multitudes!). Don't limit the US purchases to the little people... everyone who see's me pop out the XO laptop for my kids are alway interested in it. I still believe it is a great computer 56577531 even though netbooks might have more capability... the XO's are perfect for kids and that is my main purpose for owning. The organization does not feel very organized. There is too much floundering on Negroponte's part, or not enough data coming out about what advancements are being 56578799 made with realistic timetables. It's useless for people to get excited about things that OLPC says they want to do because none of it seems to ever get done. I find that realism and news would be good. 56582399 I'd retail the machines year-round. (which they *can* do as a NPO) I know little about things from that perspective, but I would move to a for-profit and sales model. Let people buy the machines: Use the increased demand to drive down 56581491 costs while using the profits to extend the reach of the educational ventures. Clinging to the existing approach is merely socialist/globalist nonsense. 56583337 sell machines to anyone who wants them I would go back in time and cut the expenditures in the beginning. It seemed to me like they were being rather oblivious to cash loss in the early parts of 2008, when I started 56585524 getting involved. I do think they have done an excellent job considering the size of the organization. It is rather remarkable they they were able to create such a computer and get so many shipped with such a small workforce. 56599264 Sell to the developed world, possibly by continuing G1G1. 56605868 The machine should be available at a retail price to whomever wants to buy it. No bulk purchase requirement (though bulk purchasers could of course get discounts.

1) Assuming that the goal of OLPC is to educate kids, then OLPC should put more resources into developing Sugar, the software that runs on the XO. They should promote it and distribute it. The hardware does not matter. Sugar is the future of OLPC, 56607485 not the XO. They should fund and support Sugar. I think they should make their money by becoming a consulting firm. OLPC should be in the business of helping countries wanting to deploy computers running the sugar software in schools, and acquire internet connectivity. Again, these computers don't have to be XOs. Most of my information about OLPC comes from, my opinions are probably colored by that. Is it an educational project or is it a laptop project? It seems like the current organization do have some problems focusing. It could have made 56617305 sense to split the organization - one group should deal with tech, one group should deal with distribution, one group should deal with for-profit sales. From what I read on olpc there is also a lack of communication between the grassroot and the HQ. 56621037 56631301 56634423 56639375 I would continue the buy 1 donate 1 aspect. I would highlight the upgrade options such as Sugar on a Stick and SD card upgrades - permanent G1G1-program - making new hardware-versions immediately available also to commercial customers Make them available marketwise to parents and educators in the US. Have FisherPrice brand and sell them. I'd have tried to maintain the coalition between hardware (OLPC proper) and software (Sugar Labs), since I think both were critical to the xo program's effectiveness.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology




56640332 Tech support. Viable recharging and power model. -Ship with Ubuntu and softwares that have real life applications. -Stick with existing 56658633 spec of OLPC for the current gen's software support. No need for 1.5 when none of the software will take advantage of the full capacity of the hardware. 56664641 Use right away for G1G1 program. Put a reliable supply chain in place to quickly satisfy demand.

no opinion really... haven't needed much from OLPC since I got my XO...the user 56679611 community is great... i got what i expected. don't think if OLPC folded it would affect me much... Non-profits usually start with a great vision, but the visionary isn't always the best 56681087 person to run a company. I admire NN very much, but feel OLPC needs a different CEO. Or at least spinning off sales to a for-profit subsidiary. Don't know. I'm not a businessman. The most interesting aspect of OLPC is neither the business nor the hardware. It's the worldwide education community crystalizing around 56708402 it. *That* is what OLCP needs to nourish, but can't because nobody likes to pay for it. Even this survey misses that point (it's missing from Q10 for example). Much better communication with volunteers and with the public, including much more willingness to work with developed countries. This would assist volunteers to find the 56763757 most effective contributions they could make, and prevent them burning out and quitting. It would also make it possible to start a political movement to get XOs into US schools, and thereby build support for aid to other countries for XO deployments. I don't know. Be more open maybe. It's very open already, it just feels like sometime we learn about important things a bit late/suddenly (e.g. XO2 discontinued, to be "replaced" with XO1.5). I don't know enough about running a business to know what kind of decision would help improve performance.


I would change the focus to all children throughout the world, not just the kids in developing countries. By doing that, it reinforces the perception that the devices are world class, not just suitable for third world countries. This would imply that there must 56778761 be a commercial arm which concentrates on delivery and support of the hardware and services. It is a good product, has great potential and is changing the way teachers deliver their lessons. I would make them more widely available for purchase, possibly even in different colors. The more people see them in stores the more they will want to know more about them 56776859 and the OLPC program itself. This would stimulate interest and generate additional funding through sales and donations. The fact that the economy is turning around will help even further. Work with and not against the current hardware and software manufacturers, don't be 56792352 afraid to let some limited patented and non open-source software influence and be implemented in the design. IT would be worth having a retail arm of the movement, aim to sell XO-1s primarily at 56845975 the western market, but the point would be to raise funds/revenue for the overall OLPC project. I would have stated clear goals in what sort of educational applications that were needed. Now it seems like there are some teachers that don't know how to integrate the laptop in their curriculum and at the same time those with the skill to make new 56845487 Activities seems more focused on making small games. I think they should have made a clear survey among the teachers in the deployment countries and then set up goals in the different subjects. So there would be a wiki page that would state what is expected of a Geography activity for example. Create more opportunities for people to get involves. Not everyone has the resources to Donate a laptop or many laptops. They could give $20/mo to support the project or to pay for staff that help set up new deployments Release more technical documentation to 56849838 the community so people can contribute to supporting the XO. Open source the Wireless drivers, Create a OS builder to roll your own Linux for the XO. Such measures would go a long way to remove fears of the XO-1 becoming an oprhan. Show more of the impact that the program is having in developing nations. Get these images on TV. Get people

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology



Value excited about the Potential for education and opportunities in Technology jobs that getting computers into the hands of children creates. Keep the focus on the Opportunity/Potential that the program creates and off the XO. Openly discuss how using Windows would Inhibit learning about computers, and programming. Create a way for technically inclined people to get their hands on XO's. This would serve 2 purposes. 1) get XO's out into the public eye but in the hands of people that understand the machines and appreciate them. 2) give skilled people a chance to hack/develop on the XO. To learn about it first hand. To blog about it. There is a vibrant community of G1G1 XO developers/hackers out there already. the problem with the Previous G1G1 program is that it let too much of the general public get XO's. Too many of these people did not understand that the XO was a purpose built machine and thus were dissapointed when it didn't have Windows, Couldn't run Flash or Skype, etc. This damaged the XO brand by creating a meme that the XO-1 was under powered and "not a real computer". The above meme has lead to the development of the XO-1.5 and above. OLPC MUST address fears about the XO-1 deing orphaned or the credibility of the entire progam will be damaged. What government is going to buy thousands of computers if they know that they will be orpans with no support in just a few years. in my mind OLPC should commit to a SINGLE hardware platform. Kids don't need the latest whiz bang applications to learn about computers. They need computers to learn about computers. And they need a computer that teachers know how to teach about. (hard to do if the specs keep changing). Governments need to see that they are investing in the future.. not in a piece of disposable technology. OLPC must not abandon the XO-1

make it easier to buy small batches of machines make it easier to buy parts have a good user manual involve the community more with respect to the software involve 56855905 teachers and other educators with the developments of software find money to support full time workers, while maintaining transparent operation. Little sales for little projects and developpers. I have lots of ideas, know lots of people 56863484 that are interested by the project and could use the XO with children, but we have no way to obtain the computers. 56872790 Recapture the community atmosphere of an open-source effort It would have been good to think of a hardware evolution strategy to have the opportunity to improve the system performances and keep offering a relatively efficient platform (faster CPU, more memory, storage, etc). That would keep people interested to obtain the system and would allow to keep up with the software industry in general. I don't believe OLPC *could* succeed as a business. The wrong people, the wong kind of charter, the wrong focus and they've already missed the opportunity.



Don't just plan the technical and the hype. Look at how it will be used and provide some basic assistance and suggestions to parents, educators, and students. I take exception to you Question 10 and think you are missing the point. Success required 3 legs of a 56967703 stool, the sales/hype/business leg, the technical, and the education leg. The 3rd leg was missing from the OLPC initiative, and it is still missing from your questionnaire. And I resent being forced to answer Q10 when the correct answer is none of the above. Your results for that question are invalid due to design flaw. 57013417 I'm more a technologist than a business person so I can't say really. Continue the G1G1 program. Get more of them out there in the first world to affect 57129714 change in the educational process. The more there are, the more aware people will be of OLPC and it's real mission. Strip out all the social agenda and socialist group-think. Put performance, reliability, and low cost at the top of the goals of the company. Retain those workers whose technical skills allow them to come up with elegant technical solutions, and fire all those whose 57171025 primary contribution was in the direction of social agendas. Sell the computers to anyone who wants them. See the world as it is, rather than trying to sell a product based on an unworkable premise. 56671265 57198266 Better support for the open source software parts of it...keep working with Sugar/Fedora. Allow for US domestic sales in some way. Market penetration is important, and drives application development and availability. It also becomes easier for teachers/schools to

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology



Value pilot something, not having to do special purchase orders.

There a lot of smarter minds working on this situation I for one hope a difference is made for some disadvantaged children their families and their cultures around the 57298125 world. I donated my XO to a project in Ghana so it ended up where it should, in the hands of a kid... I was a successful small business owner. My products were sought out by the buyers. I did no advertising (except for a web page when the internet came along). I believe 57324557 OLPC is a real need and is recognized as such. I think of most businesses succeed by training the customer to want something. They need to ensure people understand who the target is - ie, governments that can afford it, rather than a donated-machine model which is definitely unsustainable. And the fact that the onus is on the governments to develop the education resources for the machines.


57410782 distribution price 57550625 More individual sales or smaller quantity sales to introduce XO to smaller groups 57642571 A better business plan. More open about the business plan in order to get the public and governments excited and set expectations.

OLPC should be able to take better advantage of the press that it receives to raise more monies in order to distribute better educational support along with more laptops to kids. In the developing world, I think more alliances with current NGOs would be useful for 57746128 OLPC in deploying more laptops effectively. In the developed world, more pilots and demonstration projects using XOs could hopefully do some good and generate some community support and monies for the rest of the world. Focused business decision acting on the above ideas could held change OLPC's overall effectiveness. 57769915 focus less on producing h/w more integrating into educational systems 57853810 58088526 I would encourage more MIT-like people to join and play with the project. More innovative designs/features/efficiency. The demand and distribution will follow naturally. expand the user base by making it readily available to private individuals. this will help with software development.

Negroponte should put his money where his mouth is. He talks about using the XO-3 as a weapon against computer manufacturers to force them into putting out cheap data tablets in the next few years. For this tactic to be successful, the computer must be 59190192 mass-produced and sold to the general public. Nothing but a loss of market share will threaten those guys, and the tiny blips from the G1G1 events (if they're continued) are unlikely to even show up on a major corporation's quarterly report. I don't know anything about the OLPC organization. But based on using the XO I would guess that it is made up of computer geeks who are not challenged by having to spend a half hour trying to make something work. Yes, I use Windows, but so does most of the planet. And when I pick up a Mac I can sort of figure out how to make it work. Creating an interface that is completely different simply for the sake of being different makes no sense and is not a sound business strategy. There are certain conventions people look 61654536 for, like being able to bookmark a website and then find that bookmark later (I never found them after weeks of looking), being able to save a file and then find it again (I have no idea where saved files went or how to find them) and being able to store network/wifi connection information. This is not some holy grail they are searching for. My Apple iPod is easier to configure and use than the XO and it has just 3 buttons on it! I think the OLPC is actually doomed. They came out with a really bad product, did not listen to consumer complaints, and now $100 laptops are on the horizon for the masses.

Mikul Patel

BSc Business Information Technology