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
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jan 2008 @ 8:04am

    I think one detail you failed to mention is that Intel's prototype of their own version of the OLPC was quite a bit more expensive than the current model. So a "better laptop" is debatable and you can pretty much forget "at a lower price". Granted, I'm all for competition, but like the guy says, it needs to be viewed as helping children, not just more pockets to empty for profit.

    On that note, I personally think this whole OLPC thing is out of hand. Maybe it's just me, but with all the commercials we see about sponsoring children who desperately need basics like food, clothing, shoes, etc., I think our resources would be better spent on those things which are needed, rather than those things that would just be nice to have. Contrary to popular opinion, people do not need computers and the internet to receive a proper education, and they certainly don't need them to live in this world. They do, however, need food, clothing and shelter, not to mention medical facilities. I think we may need to rethink the priorities here.

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