Peru signs major OLPC laptop order

Peru signs major OLPC laptop order

Negroponte not worried by patent suit

Peru has signed a major deal to buy 260,000 XO laptops from the One Laptop Per Child Foundation.

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the OLPC project, announced the deal over the weekend in an interview with The Boston Globe, adding that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim had ordered 50,000 units.

"Slim is an old friend, and has been involved in this from the beginning," Negroponte said.

The XO laptops went into mass production last month amid fears that orders would be slow as the price per unit had nearly doubled from the projected $100 to $188.

Despite early enthusiasm the Nigerian government recently decided to go with Intel's Classmate PC instead.

Negroponte had accused Intel of trying to sabotage the OPLC project, although the chip giant has now joined the board of the not-for-profit foundation.

A recent two-for-one deal, in which Western consumers could buy one XO laptop for $399 and send one to the developing world, is also proving very successful.

The deal is taking in $2m worth of orders a day, according to Robert Fadel, the Foundation's director of finance and operations.

Fadel added that many buyers are asking for both laptops to be sent straight to poorer users, and that the 'Give Only' project had generated thousands of sales.

Negroponte was dismissive of the pending patent infringement challenge to the XO from the Lagos Analysis Corporation over keyboard design.

He said that the twin shift pattern, useful in typing dialects, had been in use since 1996, long before the patent was filed.

Meanwhile it has emerged that Ade Oyegbola, founder of Lagos Analysis Corporation, was convicted of bank fraud in Boston in 1990 and served a year in prison. Oyegbola insists that his Nigerian patent is legitimate.