Gates mocks Negroponte's $100 laptop

Why pay less when you can pay more?


Bill Gates has mocked the $100 Linux-based, wind-up powered PC which is being pitched by MIT media lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte at developing markets.

In a move unlikely to endear the world's richest man to PC users in either the developed or the developing nations. Gates advised them to "get a decent computer" that offered a decent screen, a broadband connection and isn't powered by a wind-up handle.

Shortly before his reported comments, Gates - speaking at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in Washington - had been extolling the latest Windows powered machines costing up to $1,000.

"Hardware is a small part of the cost" of providing a PC, he noted, adding that the biggest costs come from network connectivity, support, and, er, applications.

Bill should know. The planned Microsoft Office Professional 2007 will be priced at $499 while the "budget" Office Home and Student 2007 comes in at $149. Then there's the price of the operating system. Microsoft has not yet released pricing for its next Windows client, however Window XP retails for several hundred dollars.

Combined, Windows and Office kill the $100 PC's value proposition for OEMs and users. That said, Microsoft did tackle the "value" concept itself in recent years when it reluctantly introduced stripped down, Starter Editions of Windows XP in Brazil, Russia and South East Asia in response to certain government-sponsored "peoples' PCs" programs developed using Linux. It is also understood to take a more flexible approach to pricing on its full strength products in some developing countries.

Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, outlined his plans for the $100 PC last year. The wind-up devices, targeted at children in developing nations, feature a 500Mhz processor, 1Gb of memory and dual-mode color or black and white display that can be read in direct sunlight.

Negroponte expects to develop between 100m and 150m units by 2007 working with Google, AMD, Red Hat and Brightstar.

Gates is reported to have said of this collaborative effort: "If you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user, geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you're not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type."

Otherwise, why bother? ®


Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022