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Dell criticises OLPC, Negroponte hits back

The chief executive officer of Dell computers, Michael Dell, has criticised the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.Speaking to an audience of CIOs at the Gartner ITxpo conference in Orlando on 10 October, Dell said that kids in developing "need food and medicine," and not laptops.

The chief executive officer of Dell computers, Michael Dell, has criticised the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

Speaking to an audience of CIOs at the Gartner ITxpo conference in Orlando on 10 October, Dell said that kids in developing "need food and medicine," and not laptops.

Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC founder and chairman, told ZDNet.co.uk at the Paliament and Internet conference in Westminster on 18 October that Dell was "being silly".

"That's ridiculous," said Negroponte. "Substitute the word 'education' for 'laptop'. I'm surprised that Michael can't see that. The educational benefit is called 'passion' - [we've succeeded] if kids are passionate about learning."

Dell also said that there was no guarantee that governments receiving the educational laptops would not be "corrupt", and use the laptops for purposes other than education.

Negroponte disagreed with the criticism, saying:

"He's being silly. We have a security system called BitFrost. It's not a perfect control, but that's not a reason to stop."