OLPC And Intel Split Over Friction From Competing Laptop

from the sore-losers dept

Last year, after a very public spat with Intel over its competing Classmate PC, the One Laptop Per Child project appeared to patch up its differences with Intel and welcome them as a supporter. Now, they've had a nasty breakup, with each blaming the other for the separation. Intel said OLPC had demanded it stop selling the Classmate PC as a condition of continuing as a supporter of the OLPC project. OLPC head Nicolas Negroponte countered that Intel had "contributed nothing of value" to the OLPC project in the last six months. Negroponte's claims don't make a lot of sense. If Intel had merely failed to contribute resources to the project, that would hardly justify such a public and acrimonious split. The only other complaint, that Intel "continued to disparage" OLPC's product after joining the project, suggests that Negroponte is tacitly conceding that Intel's Classmate PC was the real sore point. As we said last year, this seems like a case of sour grapes on Negroponte's case. It's ridiculous to think that in a world with hundreds of millions of poor children there should only be one low-cost laptop design. Giving governments in developing countries more options can only be a good thing for poor kids. Negroponte sniffs that "we view the children as a mission; Intel views them as a market." But if Intel is able to provide developing countries with a better laptop at a lower price—and turn a profit in the process—what's wrong with that? Losing those sales might bruise Negroponte's ego, but it's hard to see how it's bad for the kids whose interests Negroponte claims to champion.

Filed Under: $100 laptop, nicholas negroponte, olpc
Companies: intel, olpc


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  1. identicon
    catbeller, 8 Jan 2008 @ 2:56pm

    Story is missing updates

    Update to the facts:

    1. Someone ratted out an Intel salesperson that was trying to warn off a country from OLPC and recommended instead they buy the more expensive Classmate. Apparently this is not an isolated incident. Intel is using its position as an OLPC backer to damage OLPC sales.
    2. Key point: Intel is a member of the OLPC group, and has signed a non-disparagement agreement.
    3. Negroponte states that Intel reps have been telling OLPC potential customers that since they now have privileged info from joining the OLPC group, they confidentially report to their customers as an "insider" that the OLPC project is in trouble; so please, for your own good, buy our Classmates instead.
    4. Even tho this behavior was earlier brought to Intel's attention with the result that Intel promised to clean up its act, they are still using their position on the project to undermine the OLPC's adoption. In other words, they are killing the project from the inside. So Negroponte asked them, with some ascerbity, to get out.

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