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Olpc's $100 Laptop

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OLPC’s $100 Laptop is a project that seeks to develop low cost, durable and modern laptops for learning in the developing nations. Although the company is yet to begin production, it already faces marketing, supplier and production, and design and concept challenges. The idea was developed in the early 2000s, and a question remains whether the project is still viable in today's world. The essay examines if the plan is attainable using Porter's five forces, SWOT analysis, and competitor analysis and recommends the best course of action.

The vision is still viable since developing nations need such learning devices to give them the right technology. Although the rapid spread of technology in many countries might make the vision seem overtaken by time, learners in the rural and remote areas do not enjoy this progress, and this impedes technology development. The five million benchmark is not realistic. Technology is changing so fast, and it’s wise to reduce the benchmark and fist target on developing an identifiable image before going large scale. Kid-Centric Model is not the better options as it is a deviation from the original vision. Also, they have less functionality and will require the planners to develop something new as opposed to OLPC projects which leverages on the existing technologies (Negroponte,2005).


 Marketing challenges result from the need to overcome the demands of the market while keeping in line with the vision of the company. Besides, the government has many issues competing for the same attention with such a program leading to the budget restriction that curtails their operations. Moreover, developing nations lack proper learning facilities and teacher which means the laptop project is not an urgent issue.  

Supplier and production challenges result from the urge to develop affordable laptops for the emerging market despite the high cost of production. The main pro’s is that the devices web forum has been established for many users. Also, its affordable thanks to low cost. However, the program lacks the intellectual property which exposes it to unauthorized copying and production.

Design and concept challenge arises from the urge to identify and develop a way to take technology to the emerging economies while overcoming the intricacies of these markets for concept challenges, it wrong to assume that teaching the basic computer lesson will amount to technical know-how. Besides, it challenging to convince the governments, who happens to be the main buyers, the laptop programs will help improve education and improve the wellbeing of the citizenry.

SWOT analysis.

Strength. The company has created a good reputation as a human right promoter and thus ease the market penetration and brand popularizing. Besides, the founder is a favorite character with a good reputation which makes promotion easier. Thirdly, the firm has the support from relevant bodies such as UN, AMD, Google, and eBay. Also, the firm is a nonprofit organization whose main aim is to provide laptops for education which means the company will not need to add the profit markup in their products. This makes the firm’s products more affordable to the intended market.  

Weakness. First, lowly priced products might be associated with low quality, and this might limit the desirability in the market. Low popularity also makes it difficult to convince the market that the products are superb especially when the popular brands control the laptop market. Another hurdle is a delay in the production as the company secure funding and deals. Delays in the IT industry is costly as things tend to change rapidly and devices come obsolete within a short period. Finally, the minimum investment amount from each country of $200 million is an uphill task especially for the impoverished nation, who also happens to beneficially of the products.

Opportunities. The anticipated increase in demand for the laptops for the educational purposes presents a good chance of low-cost laptop producers, especially in developing nations. Another opportunity is the increasing use of technology in almost every aspect of life and thus creating a massive demand for the computer products. The threat is developing nation’s limited ability to fund the program despite being the greatest beneficially of the program. Another issue is the belief that devices have no proven evidence to improve performances in education since not every aspect of education is pegged on the technology know how.

Porters five force analysis

The barrier of entry is low as the production of the laptop is based on the open source technology. Open source software's can be easily modified as they are accessible by everyone. In this light, the products can be manipulated by anyone in the market to suit various needs, and this means entry into the sector is easy. Also, the product is homogenous, and little differentiation is possible. Thanks to the use of simple technology and cheaper materials, there tend to be many suppliers of the products and the focus tend to be the price.  



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