back to article Negroponte slams Intel over OLPC competition

Nicholas Negroponte, the man behind the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has hit out at chipmaker Intel, saying the firm should be "ashamed of itself" for mucking around with OLPC's plans to get affordable laptop computers to children in developing countries. Negroponte says Intel is selling its competing low-cost kiddie …


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  1. Dillon Pyron

    Altruism at its best

    We all know that Intel has only the most altruistic intentions in mind. As does Microsoft. They really don't have any intention of cornering a market. That would be so harmful to the Third World.

    Lemme have another hit.

  2. Adam Bishop


    I thought open source was about freedom of choice, competition, and diversity.

  3. Martin Taylor


    Negroponte is purveying a solution - Intel are touting a product. That is the difference.

    I wish I could believe that Intel don't know the difference, and are therefore not wilfully scuppering a great visionary scheme. Unfortunately, I can't.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Third world Children - now just a "market"

    CEO Craig Barrett said: "Someone at Intel was comparing the Classmate PC with another device being offered in the marketplace. That's the way our business works."

    So that's all this is about - its a "market", a market I presume where they will do anything to get their fingers in the pie...

    We are talking about kids in the third world here - and yet all Intel can see is markets.

    I'd always had a disliking for Intel... now I guess I know why

  5. marc

    Not an issue

    Really, there is no issue here. There is, in fact, a market to be had. If Intel wants to produce a competing PC and sell it cheaply then so be it. If they later try to jack up the price then someone else will make a cheaper offering.

    It sounds like sour grapes to me from OLPC's inability to hit their $100/laptop target. Also, I doubt that Intel would sell below cost. Truth is, Intel has been beating AMD on cost for quite some time.


  6. abigsmurf

    Different outlooks

    OLPC is aiming for cheapest possible usable system and as a result has an OS that bears no resemblance to anything else, including most linux distros and isn't even compatible. The 350mhz AMD Geode limits it heavily too, that'd chug along doing divx, mpeg2 and flash which limits my interest in it.

    the Intel is for the most part a 'normal' laptop and has a 900mhz celeron which should make it powerful enough for most non gaming applications.

  7. Korhan Tekin

    Microfaust is at it again

    Microsoft will not allow its monopoly to be challenged by anybody, even on a project which, in my opinion, is more about public relations than about solving Third World education problems. Microsoft wants the lock on it all, even if it has no real chance of success. In this case, the project is getting a lot of attention, and it runs a Red Hat OS, and that's the problem here. So Microsoft has to either displace the Linux OS in a very public way, or sabotage the whole project.

    It's a dirty business, and if it were another big corporation, it would be standard operating procedure. But since it's Microsoft, they have the power to scuttle this thing if they wish. Which is fine by me, since in the end it will save these African nations from wasting their meager funds on this high-minded but ultimately foolish venture.

    I would say that even without Microsoft's involvement, this project is just another way to exploit the third world. These countries need running water, electricity, medicine, books, classrooms, teachers, network infrastructure, etc., long before they will be ready for laptops for every child. Another commenter said it best: "You can't leapfrog the infrastructure." Not even the United States has one laptop for every child! And don't doubt there aren't schools in the US in need of such help.

    It doesn't make sense to try this in Africa before you make it work in the First World. African leaders, despite their nations' own best interests, are buying the Kool-Aid from Negroponte and his colonially-minded colleagues. They need to take their cue from India and China - concentrate on the basics for a few decades, and worry about laptops for your kids after the West has figured out how to make it work (and spent 10s of millions of dollars doing so).

    It would be ambitious enough to just say One-Laptop-per-Classroom.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Omg what evil b*****ds!

    Seriously, that's awful - remind me to buy an AMD to run my apps on next time.

  9. Don Mitchell

    The perfect news story

    Poor children in third-world nations, conspiracy theories about Microsoft and Intel, a raving egomaniac from MIT Media Lab, open source fanboys who think capitalism is evil, and one ugly ersatz PC with a hand crank. It's the perfect modern news story!

  10. Sean Ryan

    The whole thing is sour grapes

    Am I alone in not seeing what Intel is doing wrong here? Negroponte wants cheap laptops for kids, and they're going to happen if Intel puts money behind it. Hooray for the world. He's just upset that they're not using his product.

    If he's going to use Intel's competitor's products in his scheme, he should be neither surprised nor upset at Intel for offering a competing product. If you're worried about the fact that he didn't get compensated for the innovative value of the OLPC project, he should have patented the darn thing.

    Plus, Negroponte is right: the sales numbers on this are too big, and there's a good chance this will drive down PC costs for everyone. Intel really has no choice but to do this, or they will get seriously toasted. You might not mind that, but from Intel's perspective, what else could they do?

    I just don't get the "Big Bad Intel" angle on this thing.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Intel, the reconcilation's off.

    I've always been an AMD fanboy since Intel went and introduced that Unique ID thing in their Pentium III CPUs. I was planning to give in and build a Viiv box just so I can watch Heroes online legally (can't escape it. Everywhere I go, people talk about it. At work, on the forums I visit, it's driving me nuts).

    In retrospect, zark it. I'm a-building an AMD Live mach instead. Bob cares if I can watch Heroes or not.

    I've seen Intel's machine, and god, it doesn't even have a touchscreen, just a trackpad. And the screen's arse small. What are they trying to do? Give the kids bad eyesight? Talk about inferiority.

  12. Victor Szulc


    Korhan, are you smoking something, or are you just pathologically paranoid?

    What does Microsoft have to do with anything?!?

    The idiocy of the OLPC aside (It doesn't solve any of the 3rd worlds problems, cheap PC's are plentyful) what's so wrong about this? The cheaper/better the computer the better, right? Does it matter if it's Intel inside or not? Of course not!

  13. WT

    missing the point

    The most important aspect of the OLPC effort is not to give children in third world countries computers as in "computing devices". Instead, the main driver is the use of those devices as *electronic books* because real books are expensive and they wear out very quickly and need replacing. The idea is to make the OLPC devices cheaper and longer lasting than paper books. It is before this background that the design and the technical details of the OLPC devices have to be judged.

    Intel's Classmate PC seems more like a real computing device, albeit a low end one. It does not seem to be a sturdy electronic book like the OLPC device.

  14. KAZ

    Negroponte: Whiner and Hypocrite

    So, in essence, Negroponte is demonstrating that HE doesn't actually care about poor third world kids, not that Intel doesn't.

    He is actually complaining that Intel is selling below cost...yet who the hell cares WHY Intel is selling below cost, if they are? That just means their product is that much cheaper.

    Negroponte's more concerned with his own profit margin, apparently, than the fact that the "below cost" machines are therefore cheaper for third worlders.

    He wants prices HIGHER, so he can make a profit.

    Yet everyone else is getting sucked in, mainly because of their petty hatred of successful companies like Intel and MS.

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