Microsoft doesn’t want world peace

Call me optimistic, but I think literacy and education lead to reduced conflict and greater prosperity, and I think access to cheap computer power is the key to education around the world. Paper is too expensive — and too slow. Information is power, and information is available free all over the Internet.

It’s slightly off-topic, but close to my heart:

Computers only cost as much as they do because the makers of the software — primarily Microsoft — go to enormous lengths to make their products necessary and expensive, and because makers of the hardware are constantly adding new features that you probably don’t need.

From a London Sunday Times article (Aug. 10, 2008) about the XO laptop (One Laptop Per Child, or OLPC), which I wrote about in December 2007.

4 Comments on “Microsoft doesn’t want world peace

  1. Nice article. Thanks.
    I believe that instruction and acessibility to information are really important.
    Instruction let us dvide important things from other.

  2. The Third World presents a huge, untapped market for Intel and Microsoft. Just as I’m sure they are trying to rapidly expand in India and China — and capture some of the success other American companies have experienced in those nations — these less-developed countries could be another source of growth.

    It’s obviously a conflict of ideals: One Laptop Per Child represents idealism, and Microsoft/Intel want market share and money. And yet it shows how Microsoft still does not get open source and how this might lead to its demise.

    I sure have a hard time feeling warm and bubbly over companies that try to crush a nonprofit’s efforts to expand technology in poor, underdeveloped Third World countries.

  3. To put it in a more succinct thought: It’s weird that big multi-billion dollar corporations consider a nonprofit a threat and competition.

  4. Well, Nick, I agree with you, but think about it from their perspective. Microsoft and Intel are businesses, and some other organization tried to enter a new market before the big boys could. This other organization, in addition to preempting Big Co., would also significantly undercut them in terms of price. That sounds like competition, even if it is a fairly altruistic nonprofit.

    It’s the old ‘to a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ cliche. Or, as I prefer to say, if you’re crazy, and you have a hammer, everyone’s face looks like a big nail.

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