How will these be marketed?
The laptops will be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on a basis of "one laptop per child." Initial discussions have been held with China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand. An additional, modest allocation of machines will be used to seed developer communities in a number of other countries. A commercial version of the machine will be explored in parallel.
Can a legitimate NGO or foundation apply for your program?
After our initial launch, we will be issuing a request for proposals to solicit ideas for broadening the reach of the program. Proposals will be accepted from governments and non-government organizations.
In some countries there is a lot of corruption. Would OLPC partner with an NGO instead of the education ministry?
While we are loath to do an end run around the education ministry, as the program grows, we will develop mechanisms for working with regional and non-governmental entities.
What of smaller and poorer developing countries than Brazil or China? Will the $100 laptops pass them by?
Our intention is to include “smaller and poorer” countries, and we are currently investigating mechanisms to include some such countries in the first pilot. Regarding a cross-subsidy from commercial sales, this is something else we are exploring. It is not as simple as it appears on the surface: there are local issues, such as anti-dumping laws that need to be considered. We are also in discussions with organizations such as the World Bank and UNDP about alternative funding mechanisms. This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all initiative.
In these poorer and smaller countries what could be the minimum amount of laptops that the governments can ask to be built?
This is a detail that must wait until funding mechanisms are worked out. In addition, it will be dependent on manufacturing costs which decrease as greater volumes of the laptop are produced. Minimum quantities will be one of the last details to figured out and may well vary depending on country and details of the funding mechanism.
How can you ensure the principle of one laptop per child will be followed after the countries purchase the laptops?
We cannot ensure that the laptops will be deployed in a manner unilaterally dictated by us. In every case, we are working with governments, which by their very nature have unique local agendas. While we can try to shape the nature of their deployment and are working closely with them on roll-out plans, ultimately, our biggest lever is to show them examples of best practice.
In 2007 we plan to explore innovative ways of financing the laptops peer-to-peer, where kids in the USA, for example, buy them for kids in Africa, perhaps the same age and gender, knowing the specific child.
Will the means of distribution (through ministries of education) and lower price tag mean that this laptop will succeed where others have failed?
We do not expect to have a monopoly on low-priced computers and the bulk of our efforts over time will be in software. However, we do not believe that many previous efforts have positioned themselves properly for this problem-space: learning. It is not just price, it is choice of features, integration into the infrastructure—both communications and educational—and the decision to make this an open, global effort that we think will make the difference.
Will OLPC make a profit rather than passing savings onto the schools?
OLPC will never make a profit and if we can reduce the cost of manufacturing, that savings will be passed along to the schools. We have not guaranteed a $100 price. In fact, some countries want us to add cost and features. What we have guaranteed is that whatever the launch price may be, it will float down thereafter. All successive models will be cheaper, not more expensive and feature rich.
Will OLPC spin-off a commercial subsidiary?
The idea is that a commercial subsidiary could manufacture and sell a variation of the OLPC in the developed world. These units would be marked up so that there would be a significant profit which can be plowed into providing more units in countries who cannot afford the full cost of one million machines.
The discussions around this have talked about a retail price of 2× the cost price of the units. The Retail page on this wiki will be updated when we have firmer plans.
What will OLPC do to stop a grey market?
We will make efforts to deter the grey market, but we will not be able to stop it all together. While we can do things like require the machine to be periodically connected to the school network, there will always be some degree of theft. That said, we've seen no theft in our pilot projects in places such as rural Cambodia.
Will the laptop be available for relatively developed nations?
We are exploring the possibility of developing a commercial version and we are in discussions with representatives from these nations about distribution of the non-commercial version. However, our priority is to make the laptop available first where there is the greatest need.
According to OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte:
Many commercial ventures have been considered and proposed that may surface in 2008 or beyond, one of which is ‘buy 2 and get 1.'
See also Retail
Considering that there are many people in the developed world who want one of these, are you worried that recipients of the laptop will re-sell them?
We are trying to develop strategies to maximize the number of laptops in the hands of children. We realize that in some places there will be many pressures to undermine that goal and are working on tactics to mitigate these pressures to what ever extent is practical. Your ideas are welcome.
What happens to the laptop when the child grows up and leaves school?
Our intention is that the laptops belong to the children even after they leave school.
How are schools being selected as test sites?
We are working with the ministries of education in the various launch countries to determine the best means of choosing schools for the initial deployment. The goals are to get broad coverage to optimize the learning while keeping the program to a manageable size when it is still in its formative stages. Different governments are using different means to achieve this balance. For example, the current proposal in one launch country is to deploy in all "integrated" schools, which would provide some coverage in every state: an integrated school covers 1st through 12th grade in the same school. They exist primarily in small communities and thus enable 1:1 in entire schools, for all grades, and for the entire community.