BOSTON: Google began selling basic laptop computers to schools at a price of $99, meeting a price point that prominent MIT professorNicholas 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 Electronicsthrough 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 includingIntel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Dell to develop inexpensive versions of their products such as the netbook.