OLPC eliminates half of staff, cuts salaries of rest

This afternoon, the One Laptop per Child project announced cutbacks that CEO Nicholas Negroponte called "unavoidable."

The nonprofit project that envisioned the $100 laptop that could be used in even the most remote settings has changed its vision to the $0 laptop, and as such has to eliminate roughly half of its workforce.

While not a huge organization to begin with, the One Laptop Per Child project will be comprised of now only 32 people, all of whom are taking voluntary salary reductions to help streamline the project as it changes its mission for providing computers to developing nations.

OLPC deployments in Latin America will also be spun off into a separate support unit, while the project commits a stronger focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and northwest Pakistan. The group's new initiatives include the development of a second-gen XO laptop, a free connectivity program, a million digital books, and the transferal of Sugar OS development onto the community.

"While we are saddened by this development," said Negroponte, "We remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries. We thank team members who are departing for their contributions to this important mission."

The group has not yet released sales figures for its "Give one, Get one" program for the 2008 holiday season, that included distribution by online retailer Amazon.com.

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