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The $100 laptop movement, spearheaded by former head of the MIT Media Lab Nicholas Negroponte, is close to becoming a reality, as several countries have placed orders for four million of the units, according to this Register (U.K.) article.

Negroponte’s $100 laptop and the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative have said they will begin production on the boxes, which come with a Linux-based operating system, once they have received five million orders.

The news has excited the Linux community, which has followed the $100 laptop’s development. From a post on LinuxDevices.com:

A spokesperson for the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program revealed July 31 that the countries of Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, and Thailand have each committed to buy 1 million Linux laptops through the U.S.-based program.

This news comes on the heels of Microsoft finally moving toward the cheap, affordable computing market. Chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie demoed the FonePlus product last week, according to this Silicon.com article:

[Mundie] demonstrated word processing, multimedia playback and web browsing using scaled-down versions of Internet Explorer, Word and Windows Media Player. “For at least simplified applications, it’s harder to distinguish this from a computer,” he added.

It’s still in the prototype phase, and execs at the company said they are exploring production options right now, which means it will be some time before Microsoft can realistically expect to enter the marketplace.

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