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Innovation

OLPC laying off staff and cutting salaries

According to a blog posting yesterday afternoon, the OLPC organization will be cutting staff, contractors, and the salaries of remaining staff. The cuts, about 50% of existing employees/contractors, will leave 32 people working for the group.
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Written by Christopher Dawson on

According to a blog posting yesterday afternoon, the OLPC organization will be cutting staff, contractors, and the salaries of remaining staff. The cuts, about 50% of existing employees/contractors, will leave 32 people working for the group.

Nicholas Negroponte was quoted in the post, saying,

Like many other nonprofits that are facing tough economic times, One Laptop per Child must downsize in order to keep costs in line with fewer financial resources. 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.

He also noted that this is part of a larger restructuring and refocusing in the organization. Remaining priorities include development of the second generation XO, focus on the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and reducing costs for "the least developed countries" to create a $0 laptop.

So what does this really mean for OLPC with major announcements at CES coming for Intel's Classmate program as well as the widespread availability of cheap, mainstream netbooks? It's hard to say, but it certainly doesn't bode well for the group meeting previously-defined timelines and goals.

The people leaving the organization bring a huge amount of experience to the table in this field, though. Regardless of the future of OLPC (and it isn't looking particularly bright), the future of low-cost computing for students in both developed and developing countries looks quite good. Hopefully these folks are snapped up quickly by the other players in this area. Any who wish to share their experiences via this blog, don't hesitate to contact me or talk back below.

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