The project, which was founded by Nicholas Negroponte to create low-cost laptop for sale in bulk to governments and schools in developing countries, has struggled to achieve its ambitious original goal of offering $100 notebooks. The XO notebooks currently offered by OLPC are priced at $188, according to reports.
OLPC's home-grown Linux OS seems to take a hit with the announced collaboration with Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft. Negroponte's original vision called for vendor-agnostic hardware and software platforms to package cheap mobile computing solutions for millions of students in poor countries who have little or no access to PCs.
But in recent months, OLPC has seen direct competition from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel's for-profit Classmate 'net-book' initiative, and Thursday's apparent concession to the reach of the world's largest proprietary operating system developer seems to drive home reports of the project's recent struggles. According to some analysis, OLPC has shifted its focus on purely educational goals and is attempting to reach a broader market.
In a joint statement, OLPC and Microsoft announced that XO notebooks run on Windows XP will be distributed in trial programs in four to five countries in June. A broader release is planned for August or September.