The original goal for the G1G1 project was hoped to be around 40 million dollars, making for almost 200,000 "get one" laptops -- and they set that goal well; with a final count of $35M and 162,000 laptops donated (and another 162k sent to donors). In an interview with Forbes, Negroponte responds to whether this met his expectations:
It is and it isn't. It's stunning to do that. On the other hand it doesn't quite create an economic model which could run the whole thing. If we had done a million units with G1G1 you could then maybe say the $100 laptop becomes a zero dollar laptop. So it didn't do that well in terms of the economic model to go forward.
But there's more missing in this "small" number than economic sustainability -- the laptops themselves.
This is for various reasons, as preventable as second lines of addresses being lost and bad programming to lost orders to unverifiable/PO-Box addresses to insufficient stock, evidentially due to a miscommunication between their logistics contractor and their production line.
So, the orders were under the goal and far from the ideal economically sustainable project, and nevertheless we're seeing months-long delays due to poor internal communication, with very difficult to get a hold of support staff?
After a round of very displeased customer complaints, OLPC has started sending out email updates and being in general more proactive in their communications; this somewhat bilious post was brought about by this morning's email:
Please accept my apologies for the delay in receiving your XO laptop. Give One Get One was such a phenomenal success that we over-taxed our order processing and payment systems. Demand exceeded supply.
Additional XO laptops are being built now and will be delivered in 45 to 60 days. If you wish to reconsider your contribution in the face of this delay, we will issue a refund to you. We have set up a dedicated phone line for these requests. The number is 1-800-883-8102.
In the meanwhile, please know that laptops are in the process of going to Mongolia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Haiti as part of the "give one" side of the equation. Fortunately, OLPC's mission of getting laptops to the children in these countries has not been delayed. In Mongolia , the children are already enjoying themselves and learning new things with their XO laptops. Please see: https://wiki.laptop.org/go/Ulaanbaatar.
Eliminating poverty through learning is gaining wider acceptance thanks to support like yours.
So now at least you can get your money back. I wonder if you can un-give the whole amount, or just get the $200 cost-of-the Get-one side back; though I'm sure that with enough yelling they'd refund the whole shebang if that's not the default refund.
Stepping back; this does not bode well for the project in general; and I really hope that they have a better production/distribution process for overseas.
Are you, too frustrated about the logistics of the G1G1? Share your stories at OLPCNews.com's shipping forum which is tracking still-unfulfilled orders to try and get a real number of how bad it is.