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 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."
"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."