Intel Resigns From OLPC Board?

John M McIntosh johnmci at
Fri Jan 4 02:23:48 UTC 2008

On Jan 3, 2008, at 4:47 PM, Ron Teitelbaum wrote:

> Hello All,
> The wall street journal is reporting that Intel has resigned from  
> the OLPC
> board and has canceled plans to develop an Intel based OLPC computer  
> over
> demands that it stop selling its competitor classmate computer.  Can  
> anyone
> confirm this?
> Ron Teitelbaum
> Squeak News Team Leader

Intel Resigns From Board
Of One Laptop Per Child
January 3, 2008 8:17 p.m.
Intel Corp. says it has dropped out of a non-profit project to sell  
millions of low-cost laptops in the developing world, citing  
disagreements with the organization's founder, Nicholas Negroponte.

The divorce culminates a stormy relationship between the Santa Clara,  
Calif.-based chipmaker and the One Laptop Per Child project, which  
recently began selling a low-cost laptop in African, Latin American  
and other countries. The two sides had been feuding over Intel's  
aggressive marketing of a low-cost laptop of its own design in many of  
the same countries that the non-profit had been targeting. The OLPC  
machine uses a microprocessor from Intel's chief competitor, Advanced  
Micro Devices Inc.

After more than a year of public sniping between Intel and OLPC, Intel  
joined OLPC's board in July and had been planning on announcing a new  
low-cost, OLPC-designed laptop based on an Intel microprocessor at  
next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But the company  
has quit the board and scrapped the new machine, according to Intel  
spokesman Chuck Mulloy.

"We've reached a philosophical impasse with OLPC," he said. He added  
that Mr. Negroponte had demanded that Intel stop selling its own  
designed laptop, known as the Classmate, and to stop supplying its  
chips in other laptops marketed to schoolchildren in developing  
countries. "We can't accommodate that request," Mr. Mulloy said. He  
said Intel favors offering "many solutions" to developing countries,  
not just the OLPC laptop. He also said dropping the Classmate would  
hurt Intel's relationships with overseas manufacturers and suppliers.  
Tens of thousands of Classmates have been sold.

Mr. Negroponte, a professor on leave from the Massachusetts Institute  
of Technology, couldn't be reached for comment. The simmering dispute  
between Intel and Mr. Negroponte was detailed in a page-one story in  
this newspaper in November.

The concept of a low-cost laptop for the world's poorest  
schoolchildren has sparked great interest from world leaders and  
technology companies ever since Mr. Negroponte first proposed it three  
years ago as a way to bridge the technology divide between rich and  
poor countries. He vowed to get such a device, costing just $100, into  
the hands of up to 150 million children by this year. But although  
OLPC has managed to develop an innovative machine, it has failed so  
far to achieve its target price -- the current model sells overseas  
for $188 -- and to attract large orders from governments because of  
increasing competition. As sales problems mounted, the project  
recently reversed course on its plan not to sell the device to  
American consumers. In November, it began selling pairs of laptops to  
U.S. and Canadian consumers for $399 under a program in which buyers  
could keep one and give the other to a student in a poor country like  
Haiti. The program ended on Monday. OLPC has called the program --  
known as "Give One. Get One." -- successful, but hasn't disclosed  
total sales figures.

Mr. Negroponte serves on a committee to protect the editorial  
integrity of Dow Jones & Co., the owner of The Wall Street Journal  
that was acquired last month by News Corp.

Write to Steve Stecklow at steve.stecklow at

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