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Google makes MIT professor's dream of "$100 laptop" a reality

BOSTON (Reuters) - Google Inc began selling basic laptop computers to schools at a price of $99, meeting a price point that prominent MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte famously held out in 2005 as key to bringing computing power to the masses.

The Internet giant said on Monday that it will be offering the steep educational discount on Series 5 Chromebooks from Samsung Electronics Co through December 21. They typically retail for $249.

Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child Foundation failed to meet his ambitious target, which critics said would be impossible to meet when he set it. His XO laptop currently sell for about $200.

Still, he is widely credited with helping to launch the era of low-cost portable computing.

The creation of relatively low-cost laptops from his foundation pressured industry giants including Intel Corp, Microsoft Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc to develop inexpensive versions of their products such as the netbook.

Information on the program that Google is offering the computers is available at (http://www.donorschoose.org/docs/Chromebooks.pdf)

(Reporting By Jim Finkle; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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