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OLPC to laptop makers: Use our design


The One Laptop Per Child initiative seems to have found that imitation isn’t simply a form of flattery, it’s grounds for a new business model, CNET reports. Speaking at the TED 2009 conference, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said the future of the initiative–which set out to put simple, durable, low-cost laptops in the hands of schoolchildren in developing nations–is to become, in essence, more commonplace, to "build something that everyone copies." That copying has already begun, Negroponte said, pointing to the surging popularity in recent months of netbooks: laptops built by a range of commercial PC makers with a focus on low cost and simplicity of design. Given the pressure from commercial markets, Negroponte said OLPC would release and open-source its hardware design and invite others to copy it. Within three years, Negroponte expects companies around the world to be cranking out some 5 to 6 million such machines every month, compared with about a half-million OLPC machines now in use…

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