Intel dumps OLPC, Negroponte loses it
There are numerous news reports covering Intel’s withdrawal from the One Laptop Per Child project. The company says it decided to leave the OLPC board because the One Laptop organisation had demanded it stop supporting other efforts in emerging markets. Of course what the OLPC board was specifically referring to was Intel’s Classmate, a laptop for developing markets launched in 2006.
However, infuriated by news reports of Intel’s move, OLPC head Nicholas Negroponte has lashed out at the company accusing them of being self-serving and undermining the OLPC programme. In one interview he told Fortune:
We’re like the World Food Program and they’re McDonald’s. They can’t compete. They are both food organizations but for completely different purposes.
And, of course, he is right. Intel does indeed have a competing device in the Classmate. And Intel is very likely milking its involvement with the One Laptop project for feel-good publicity. But this is a giant corporation; they are not accustomed to doing things without ensuring there is good media mileage to be made out of it.
Having said that, Negroponte is doing OLPC little good by being petulant. Ultimately, the goal of the project is to deliver low-cost PCs to the kids of the developing world. Insisting that he is the holder of the “one true way” to achieve this is just silly.