Even so, OLPC’s work turned competitors on to the growing market for technology in developing countries. Companies such as Intel Corp. came up with their own designs for inexpensive laptops for kids, while other organizations figured out ways to turn regular desktop computers into multiple workstations—dramatically cutting costs for school computer labs and internet cafes both in the United States and abroad.

The scramble to produce inexpensive laptops for kids in developing countries also helped prime the pump for the recent flood of “netbooks,” which are smaller, cheaper, and less powerful than laptops.

Negroponte said the last few months have been a turning point for his group.

“People are no longer asking, ‘Does this work?'” he said. “The one question I hear all the time is, how do I pay for it? How do the economics work?”


One Laptop Per Child