OLPC cuts workforce in half

The One Laptop Per Child project has been forced to cut its workforce in half, as the credit crunch takes it toll on the non-profit organisation.

OLPC cuts workforce in half

OLPC, which aims to bring its low-cost XO laptop to developing nations, says it’s struggling to keep a lid on costs.

“Like many other non-profits that are facing tough economic times, One Laptop per Child must downsize in order to keep costs in line with fewer financial resources,” founder Nicholas Negroponte admits.

“Today we are reducing our team by approximately 50% and there will be salary reductions for the remaining 32 people.

“While we are saddened by this development, we remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries.”

The OLPC project has traversed a rocky path ever since its inception. Its original aim of providing a $100 laptop failed, with rising component costs and a lack of large-volume orders forcing the cost of the XO laptop up beyond $200.

The organisation also had a high-profile dispute with Intel, which led to the chip maker abandoning the project.

The OLPC has attempted to revive the project with a “give one, get one” scheme where an XO laptop is donated to the developing world every time one is purchased. However, the scheme has now ended in the US, and the Amazon microsite that was set up for a forthcoming European launch has now mysteriously disappeared.

Nevertheless, Negroponte is pushing ahead with even more ambitious goals. “OLPC will be dedicated to bringing the cost of the laptop down to zero for the Least Developed Countries – the $0 Laptop,” he proclaims.

“The fact that there are 500,000 children around the world who have laptops is testament to their extraordinary work and is already a key part of OLPC’s legacy.”

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