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Intel and OLPC permanently sever relationship, AMD donates large sum to OLPC

Intel's relationship with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative has always been a stormy affair.  Originally, Intel was very enthusiastic about the OLPC project and its altruistic goals.  However, trouble began for the pair when Intel decided to develop the "Classmate PC", a similar cheap, low-power, small form factor device.  Then came Intel chairman Craig Barrett publicly insulting the OLPC's XO design by saying it's not a "grown-up PC" and criticizing the XO for its power crank. 

Still, many were optimistic when Intel and the OLPC foundation got back together and OLPC founder Nick Negroponte pledged that the pair would settle their differences .

Afterwards, Intel and OLPC seemed to be enjoying a healthy relationship. Just recently, an enthusiastic Intel reported that it would develop a chip to replace AMD's low-power Geode processor, which powers the current revision of the XO.

But alas, all things must come to an end.

While it worked to mend its relations with OLPC, Intel continued to work on its side project -- the Classmate PC. The OLPC foundation developed a jealousy for the "other laptop"

This jealousy boiled over, at last, with an emotional Negroponte allegedly telling Intel that it was OLPC or the Classmate PC.  Intel refused to back down and decided to dump XO in favor of its own Classmate PC. In a statement to the Associated Press, Intel's Chuck Malloy states "At the end of the day we decided we couldn't accommodate that request."

Ironically, the OLPC foundation was planning to display an Intel-power XO prototype in its booth at CES.

There are lots of losers in the scenario -- Intel, who would gain publicity and a major customer; OLPC, who will be forced to rely exclusively with AMD; and the consumers for which the project targets.


The OLPC foundation can find small comfort in a move reminiscent of the NBC and iTunes drama; AMD in OLPC's moment of abandonment has made a big show of faith in support of the company.  AMD employees pooled their money to donate funds that will be enough to provide hundreds of laptops to underprivileged children.

The only real winner in the situation is AMD, who now -- at the expense of everyone else -- is getting to have the leftover cake from Intel and OLPC's failed matrimony.





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