Just months after Bill Gates mocked the ‘One Laptop per Child” program initiated by Nicholas Negroponte, Microsoft has announced that it will be launching its own sub-$100 laptop for the under-privileged.
Called the “Zule” it is meant to be a companion to the recently released Zune player from the software company.
“Obviously I was not happy with the original manufacturing quality of the machine by Negroponte and his group and I made my points quite clear on that earlier this year.” Gates stated.
“So we’ve launched our own laptop to be released in the first quarter of 2007. We taken the initial design concept and made it better.” Gates further added.
In comparison, the Zule comes with a crank and a solar panel for power supply, a 10GB notebook hard drive, a 1Ghz processor, 512MB ram and windows 2000 me standard. Also included is Office 2000. All the software is preloaded and also copied onto a 1GB USB drive, also included.
“We were able to enter this program using the goodwill of all of the people at Microsoft, Intel and HP. Incorrect software and hardware choices in the 90s and the stockpile of stuff we couldn’t shift on eBay or trash for environmental reasons left us with a whole heap of stuff to build these machines.”
“And we get a kickass tax break to boot! Everyone’s a winner!” Gates triumphed.
In calculation it would seem that the most costly part of the equipment is the USB flash drive.
In other camps, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has announced that he will be backing the Negroponte idea.
The recent announcements of Ellison to join the philanthropy movement have meant that the Negroponte idea can be spread further by the Oracle chief.
“We’ve got a real contender in the South American camp with the Media Lab product. By the end of Q2 2008 we expect that we’ll up by 32% on the Microsoft product. The numbers so far are very encouraging for this market.” Ellison remarked.
In true Microsoft fashion, Gates retorted at the comments the Media Lab offering was going to be the dominant player in the space “look it’s obvious” he said. “We’ve now given them a proper keyboard, some memory and an operating system that can be operated by anyone. Linux is not something for the IT uninitiated as well know.”
The Zule will ship for $98.50 per unit and has already attracted interest from the Indian government who originally said no to the Negroponte project.
Indian Education Ministry Secretary Sudeep Banerjee is said to have been swayed by the offer of Microsoft to ‘throw in’ the Zule laptops as part of a deal with the Indian government to formally license their software across the government.
Following allegations that India’s whole of government is licensed solely by one 50 seat Microsoft Select License, that only one in 52 Indian IT workers claiming to be Microsoft Certified actually are, and that only one in 79 Indian IT workers claiming to be Cisco certified actually are, Banerjee stated that an understanding with Microsoft had now been reached.
And in a suprising move, the Indian Government has provided Banerjee with a promotion and massive salary increase. A statement issued on behalf of the Indian Government stated “if all our leaders of Government could attain the cost efficiencies that Banerjee has our economy would be much stronger. Banerjeee has managed to obtain computers for 250 million Indians and all at a cost of 200,000 copies of Office. That works out to $2.50 a computer!”