Print 84 comment(s) - last by Justin Case.. on May 23 at 5:06 PM

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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RE: Economics 101
By smitty3268 on 5/21/2007 7:23:06 PM , Rating: 5
I think you kind of hit the point exactly - Negroponte sees this as more of a social cause while Intel sees it as a business opportunity.

RE: Economics 101
By TomZ on 5/21/2007 10:06:56 PM , Rating: 3
If Intel is successful in getting low-cost PC's to the same children that OLPC would have, then what's the difference of OLPC or Intel manufacture them, as long as the objective is met? Why should you, I, or anyone case if Negroponte is involved or not? Seems like this is just an ego thing for Negroponte.

RE: Economics 101
By smitty3268 on 5/21/2007 10:12:28 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I agree. I do think he is a little more concerned about keeping the cost down while Intel will focus on making a profit, but with any luck the competition between them will result in prices going even lower than they would have before.

RE: Economics 101
By Justin Case on 5/22/2007 12:53:16 AM , Rating: 3
Intel is actively marketing against the OLPC, trying to convince 3rd world governments to cancel their OLPC orders and pre-order their (Intel's) more expensive laptop instead.

In other words, since these governments have a very limited amount of money, Intel is telling them that, instead of buying 500 thousand OLPCs, they should buy 300 thousand Intel Classmates. Because they run Windows. And what 3rd world child doesn't need to be locked into the Wintel monopoly...?

Result? Intel profits, less children get laptops, eventually the OLPC project fails, and then Intel either increases the price or "forgets" about the project. And by then no one will back the OLPC (it failed once, it must be a bad idea, right?).

And what a lot of people here seem to forget (or perhaps selectively ignore) is that Intel had a chance to get into the OLPC project right at the start. They refused. They've spent the last 4 years saying it was a stupid idea. Now they realised they screwed up, and have set their FUD machine all the way up to "shameless".

This is the way Intel and Microsoft (and every other monopolistic multinational corporation) kills competition before it becomes a threat. And unlike with OSS, hardware can never be 100% free, so Intel can even afford to go after non-profit organizations.

This definitely does it for me. I'd sooner buy a used Cyrix right now than anything made by Intel.

RE: Economics 101
By RMSe17 on 5/22/2007 1:57:11 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, totally agree..

RE: Economics 101
By TomZ on 5/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: Economics 101
By Justin Case on 5/22/2007 1:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a "market", this is a non-profit organization trying to get children out of poverty and give them an education. The last thing they need is the Intel marketing machine spreading FUD and trying to get 3rd world governments to buy less laptops for more money.

If Intel is interested in helping, all they have to do is supply the OLPC project with cheaper CPUs. They had a chance to do that (still do, in fact), and weren't interested. They're tryng to use marketing and FUD to make a profit at the expense of the people that the OLPC project is meant to help.

RE: Economics 101
By TomZ on 5/22/2007 3:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
Negroponte did not claim that Intel is spreading misinformation about OLPC. Therefore, your accusation of FUD is off-base.

The thing that I read into this article is that Negroponte's ego is bruised because he got caught up in real-world competition. And yes, this is a "market" - why do you claim otherwise? OLPC has no inherent ability to be the only supplier of low-cost computers to developing nations.

Since there is a lot of money involved, obviously there's going to be competition. That's reality.

Finally, don't you think that even in the case of OLPC, that people are profiting from that? The whole supplier chain is profiting from OLPC, and not to mention the salaries that are paid by the OLPC organization to its employees.

RE: Economics 101
By Justin Case on 5/22/2007 11:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
Did you even bother to read the BBC article? Here:

And you might want to do a bit of research to understand what the OLPC actually is. Hint: it's not "just" a laptop, and it's a very different concept from Intel's (more expensive) "Classmate" laptop.

Finally, you might want to look up the meaning of "non-profit organization". Here:

Hint: people don't have to work for free or pull raw materials out of their ass to be considered an NPO.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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