REDMOND, Wash., and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — May 15, 2008 — Today, Microsoft Corp. and One Laptop per Child (OLPC) announced an agreement that will make the Microsoft Windows operating system available on OLPC’s low-cost XO laptops for the world’s poorest children. Through this agreement, trials of the XO running Windows are planned to begin as soon as June in key emerging markets. Recognizing that the challenge of providing high-quality education for children in the developing world is too large to be solved by any single organization, Microsoft and OLPC are committed to working with governments and nongovernmental organizations to ensure the success of these pilot programs.
The availability of Windows, in addition to Linux, on the XO laptop will allow customers to have an expanded choice of operating environments that best fit their requirements. The intention is to create a version of the XO laptop that provides the ability to host both Windows and Linux operating systems, giving users the ability to run either on the XO laptop.
“Transforming education is a fundamental goal of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, our ambitious effort to bring sustained social and economic opportunity to people who currently don’t enjoy the benefits of technology,” said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. “By supporting a wide variety of affordable computing solutions for education that includes OLPC’s XO laptop, we aim to make technology more relevant, accessible and affordable for students everywhere.”
“From the beginning, the goal of OLPC has been to use technology to transform education by bringing connectivity and constructionist learning to the poorest children throughout the world,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of OLPC. “Today’s announcement, coupled with future plans for a dual boot version of the XO laptop, enhances our ability to deliver on this vision. In addition, OLPC will work with third parties to port its user interface, called ‘Sugar,’ to Windows.”
Customers and partners worldwide have requested Windows support for the XO laptop, because it opens the door for students and educators to access the benefits of existing Windows-based educational software and tools, as well as a broad ecosystem that provides extensive relevant and local educational content.
“As I plan my region’s investment in technology, I must evaluate the best way to provide quality education and prepare my citizens for the work force,” said Andrés Gonzalez Díaz, governor of Cundinamarca, Colombia. “Windows support on the XO device means that our students and educators will now have access to more than computer-assisted learning experiences. They will also develop marketable technology skills, which can lead to jobs and opportunities for our youth of today and the work force of tomorrow.”
“Technology’s positive impact can lead to the accelerated development of competencies and life skills for students everywhere,” said Edward Granger-Happ, chief information officer of international nonprofit organization Save the Children. “The benefits of Microsoft’s proven technology platforms for all program areas offered in conjunction with OLPC’s XO laptop create enormous potential for children and teachers to learn, grow and contribute to their communities.”
Microsoft has spent more than a year working with a variety of partners to develop customized drivers that enable Windows to run on the XO laptop. Windows now supports the laptop’s e-book reading mode, standard Wi-Fi networking, camera, writing pad and custom keys, as well as the power-saving and other features of the XO hardware. The adaptation of standard Windows for the XO laptop means that hundreds of thousands of third-party applications and devices available for Windows will now be compatible with the XO laptop, extending the power and advantages of the full Windows ecosystem to XO laptop users. Additional technical details regarding Windows for the XO laptop and a video demonstration can be found at http://blogs.technet.com/jamesu.
About Unlimited Potential
Microsoft, through its Unlimited Potential vision, is committed to making technology more affordable, relevant and accessible for the 5 billion people around the world who do not yet enjoy its benefits. The company aims to do so by helping to transform education and foster a culture of innovation, and through these means enable better jobs and opportunities. By working with governments, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations and industry partners, Microsoft hopes to reach its first major milestone — to reach the next 1 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology — by 2015.
About One Laptop per Child
One Laptop per Child (OLPC at http://www.laptop.org) is a non-profit organization created by Nicholas Negroponte and others from the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture and distribute laptop computers that are sufficiently inexpensive to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education. These XO laptops are rugged and so energy efficient that they can be powered by a child manually. The pricing goal is $100.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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