Intel Flips (Again) on One Laptop Per Child

Lora Bentley

When Intel introduced its Classmate PC last year, the chipmaker angered those behind the One Laptop Per Child project. In fact, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte went so far as to accuse Intel of undercutting its initiative and trying to drive OLPC out of the market. Intel, of course, denied the claims.


Then the two surprised everyone by making nice. In July, Intel joined the OLPC board and pledged to provide funding -- and, down the road, technology for the server side of the initiative.


Thursday, in yet another about-face, Intel announced it would leave the OLPC board. According to The New York Times, the break resulted from an inability to resolve "philosophical differences." An Intel representative said simply:

We've reached a philosophical impasse. Negroponte had asked us to exclusively support O.L.P.C.-based platforms.

To do that, it seems, Intel would have to discontinue support for the Classmate PCs that have already been sold in emerging markets, which the company is -- understandably -- unwilling to do at this point.

For emerging markets, Intel has been backing its own, more expensive Classmate PC, which sells for about $300. Mr. Mulloy said Intel was unwilling to walk away from support agreements that the company had made for that machine and other systems.

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