22 February 2018
Navjeet Khosa


Navjeet Khosa - Finextra

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Intel quits One Laptop Per Child scheme

04 January 2008  |  2235 views  |  0

At a breakfast meeting at Sibos last year Nicholas Negroponte, MIT professor and founder of the non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) scheme, convinced even the most cynical amongst the audience - including myself - of the merits and benefits of the "$100 laptop" scheme.

The initative aims to supply a laptop - featuring only open source software - to provide a means for learning to the nearly two billion children in developing countries with little or no access to education. 

But the programme has been dealt a massive blow with the news that corporate giant Intel - the world's largest chipmaker - has pulled out of the scheme due to "philosophical differences".

Relations between Intel and Negroponte have always been frosty - the fact that the OLPC laptop use processors from Intel's arch-rival AMD probably didn't help matters.

But Intel finally signed up to the scheme last July. However the relationship between the two organisations remained rocky and the situation came to a head when Intel refused to stop selling its own $300 laptop, called The Classmate PC, in countries that OLPC has been targeting. Negroponte has previously accused Intel of selling Classmate at a loss to make the OLPC laptop less attractive to governments.

Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy also told reporters that dropping the Classmate PC would hurt Intel's relationships with "manufacturers and suppliers".

Meanwhile the OLPC programme is reported to be running into further trouble. The laptop has failed so far to achieve its target $100 price and currently sells for $188. Increasing competition has resulted in fewer orders. Furthermore, last week Mary Lou Jepsen, the chief technology officer of the programme, quit the role to pursue "commercial interests".

Now the fall out from the exit of Intel is likely to have a further detrimental effect on the programme. Instead of having the corporate giant on board, OLPC will be competing directly with it.

But while the corporations and organisations continue with their childish squabbles, let's hope that it's not the kids that miss out.

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job title Reporter
location London
member since 2007
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Responsible for researching and writing news stories for Finextra.

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