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OLPC founder, Negroponte, has a few words for Intel on low-cost laptops

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the "One Laptop Per Child" initiative, accused chip maker Intel of undermining the OLPC by selling its own cut-price laptop, the Classmate.  Negroponte claims that Intel is trying to drive him out of the market.

According to BBC, Negroponte said that Intel hurt his mission in trying to distribute laptops to kids in developing countries "enormously".  Intel's chairman, Craig Barrett, has denied all claims of undercutting Negroponte's mission, stating, "We're not trying to drive [him] out of business. We're trying to bring capability to young people."

Though the hardware specifications differ between Intel’s low-cost laptops and Negroponte's, OLPC founder believes that the main problem is that his machines use AMD processors, Intel's main competitor. "Intel and AMD fight viciously," he told CBS. "We're just sort of caught in the middle."

Professor Negroponte also claimed that Intel has distributed marketing literature to governments entailing negative aspects of the One Laptop Per Child and outlining superior aspects of the Classmate.  Some of the literature had titles such as "the shortcomings of the One Laptop per Child approach".  Intel responded by saying that it was just making comparisons between the Classmate PC and the other device in the market.

Countries have until May 31 to place their orders for the first round of PCs.  The launch price will be $175 but the goal is to get them down to $100 each.  Intel is taking orders for the Classmate for over $200 each.

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By Aprime on 5/21/2007 6:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
"drive hum out of business"?

RE: Hum.
By bpiermat on 5/21/2007 7:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree...Intel will force him out of business...then will stop providing laptops for the poor. Nice guys huh?

RE: Hum.
By Zirconium on 5/21/2007 8:13:07 PM , Rating: 3
I disagree...Intel will force him out of business...then will stop providing laptops for the poor. Nice guys huh?
First of all, you replied to the wrong guy (the OP is emphasizing a spelling error, which you can't disagree with). Secondly, why would Intel corner a market it has no intention of capitalizing? That would be a foolish move, especially since it would bring Intel bad press. Lastly, you can't speculate upon what's going to happen, and then use your speculations to insult a group of people. That said, Intel is a company and is not driven by charitable ideas of purely helping the poor. However, in following the OLPC initiative, I believe that Negroponte is fueled mostly by his ego nowadays.

RE: Hum.
By kkwst2 on 5/21/2007 11:12:04 PM , Rating: 2
Lastly, you can't speculate upon what's going to happen, and then use your speculations to insult a group of people.

Actually, he can, and did. Perhaps he shouldn't....;)

In my experience, most driven, ambitious individuals, even those with charitable aspirations, have significant egos. Their motives don't necessarily define their legacy, do they? It's the results and impact on society that is important, since judging one's intentions becomes a tricky thing. However, I'm still not convinced that handing out a bunch of underpowered laptops to poor kids is the best use of resources, but I guess maybe we'll find out.

RE: Hum.
By TomZ on 5/21/2007 10:08:55 PM , Rating: 1
If Intel can do a better job and/or deliver a more cost effective solution, then OLPC should be out of business. If they can't compete with Intel on the merits of the product, then it does a disservice to the end customers that they are potentially paying for economic inefficiency with OLPC.

RE: Hum.
By gorobei on 5/23/2007 4:50:47 AM , Rating: 2
it's not a question of the lowest priced product.

The OLPC is designed specifically for the market and physical environment it is to be sold in. it costs $175 for the right product for those people. Intel is selling a $300 product that technically is more powerful but less useful because is isn't designed to function in that environment with no support, no spare parts, no telephone or broadband servers.

Do your grandparents need 8 rack blade server with 4 quad xeons procs to send email? Most likely not, they probably could do with a celeron or cyrix chip if that is all they ever do.

It's not that the OLPC cant compete on merit. It's that INTEL is selling the Classmate below the actual cost. Because it's cheaper to flood the market with bad product sold at a loss for a little while than to let AMD dominate this market niche until INTEL can actually make a better product.

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