'$100 laptop' sparks war of words

According to the $100 laptop initiative founder Nicholas Negroponte, Intel Corporation "should be ashamed of itself" for selling the "Classmate" below cost to drive him out of markets. Both Intel and Professor Negroponte's not for profit organisation, One Laptop per Child, have developed a low cost, robust laptop aimed specifically at school children in the developing world. Negroponte insists Intel had hurt his mission "enormously" only to have Intel's chairman Craig Barrett deny the claims: "We're not trying to drive him out of business. We're trying to bring capability to young people."

Professor Negroponte believes the main problem is that his machine uses a processor designed by Intel's main competitor, AMD. "Intel and AMD fight viciously. We're just sort of caught in the middle." Professor Negroponte says Intel has distributed marketing literature to governments with titles such as "the shortcomings of the One Laptop per Child approach", which outline the supposedly stronger points of the Classmate. Barrett retorted: "Someone at Intel was comparing the Classmate PC with another device being offered in the marketplace. That's the way our business works." He dismissed claims that Intel was trying to put OLPC out of business as "crazy". "There are lots of opportunities for us to work together."

Countries have until May 31 to place their orders for the first batch of the $176 (£90) laptops, but the eventual aim is to sell the machine to governments of developing countries for $100 (£50). Intel says it already has orders for "thousands" of Classmates, which currently cost over $200 (£100).

News source: BBC News

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24 Comments

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I taught that was familiar... wintel is at it again. After all can't have the "third" world running linux on amd.

pfff. It would be a shame if the olpc is killed by this. IMO they did a really nice thing with the software.

Intel is a big money company and as people have said previously if they are offering it for (effectively) less then that is all the better. The main thing Intel is getting out of it is it is getting it's name associated with the computer market. Hence further down the line when the countries develop further Intel will be associated with the PC market and have a potential advantage. There are two sides to this argument, but at the end of the day (it's night) the children are getting even cheaper computers, never a bad thing.

Sure, it's better spec, but it seems as if Intel aren't thinking about their target audience. They're just making a generic PC.

OLPC is much better because of it's child-like features and innovative ideas, such as the folding methods, tablet use, 802.11s mesh networking, Sugar OS, webcam and mic, and durable design.

This is a sad day for open source.

So let the targeted people choose, end of the argument. Anyone want to say they don't know what is good for them, or "really good", or "really good in the long run"?

I don't see a problem with what Intel is doing at all. There are many other instances where companies will sell a product below cost do enable developing nations to afford a product that would otherwise be to expensive for them. Often this is done to promote brand awareness for when the the market has developed to such a point that it can afford more "luxurious" products.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that AMD isn't playing the publicity game as well, they most certainly are, and now they are just annoyed that that someone else has joined the party. AMD (or their partner in this case) is crying foul because they can't compete. This was a great opportunity for them to corner a potential market, and now they have competition.

Granted, Intel is enormously more prepared to fight a battle of economics compared to AMD, but that in no way means that Intel should not be allowed take a stab at a potentially lucrative market opportunity like this. After all, competition is a good thing, even in charity.

No matter what happens, the kids will still get their $100 laptops. Whether it says AMD or Intel on the box won't matter to them when they are surfin' pr0n on the series of tubes known as the interwebs. (I jest, I jest)

I don't see Intel selling underpriced notebooks to the developing countries at a lower price, after all the countries will benefit from a lower price...

however what I'm afraid of is that Intel will undersell the non-profit company, then suddenly jack up the price when the company has gone bankrupt, or worse yet, stop selling them since it's not profitable.

Anyone with the production capacity necessary for this venture can step in and fill the need.

You either want to cater to the market, or you don't.

LTD said,
Anyone with the production capacity necessary for this venture can step in and fill the need.

You either want to cater to the market, or you don't.

After seeing what the Windows/Intel combination did undercutting OLPC, I am sure that the many other organizations would be willing to jump in and try to compete against them. Let's see, what other big CPU manufacturers are there?

markjensen said,
After seeing what the Windows/Intel combination did undercutting OLPC, I am sure that the many other organizations would be willing to jump in and try to compete against them. Let's see, what other big CPU manufacturers are there?

I can think of at least Dell-end and IBM...

After seeing what the Windows/Intel combination did undercutting OLPC, I am sure that the many other organizations would be willing to jump in and try to compete against them. Let's see, what other big CPU manufacturers are there?

IBM (risc)? Via(x86, probably the bes choice)? Sun (sparc)?

Any of these would do. IBM definitely has the money for it.

Via's processors are probably the best suited for the task though as they are low power and low heat compared to their performance. The performance isn't stellar, but not everyone need quad core.

What? Intel is not making a profit from selling laptops to school kids? Bad bad Intel. Why can't they just do what Apple's been doing so everyone will be happy.

Apple's student discount now is next to nothing. You have to be inside with Apple before you get any good deals. Steve Jobs just bends the school's over now. . That is why schools are going back to PC's and especially Dell PC's Cheap... Just my thoughts

Mikee

Not only are they trying to compete, they're distributing propagana!

I'm surprised Intel doesn't have these same children working in sweat shops building components. I'm kinda ashamed to run my core 2 now....

Damn you for underprising your laptops to compete with our non profit computer so the children can buy your even cheaper alternative....


sheesh.

if intel is selling so far under cost as to compete with OLPC then they'd be losing omney on them, either way kids get cheap laptops. besides as the article states the classmates are more expensive, twice as expensive in fact.
wichmeans if they choose the one that cost twice as much it's because it offers more than twice the funcitonality, or is worth more per dollar.

That's not the point. The OLPC program has been in development for awhile now with alot of good-hearted people designing it. It was meant to be affordable. Developing countries aren't the same kind of techno-hornballs that we are. They just want something that can reach the masses. Then Intel comes around and says: "Oh, yeah well we can do it better." This is one instance that just proves greed is the driving force behind Intel's motives. Maybe its not the money, but Intel deffinetly isn't going to sit around while another chip is running in such a highly publicized device....

Intel is really doing a great job. Distributing propaganda entitled "The Shortcomings of OLPC" and so forth.

And they can afford to sell at a loss. They will knock the self-funded not-for-profit OLPC out easily. Then the market is left with what? Stuck with the one Intel solution.

Go capitalism! Screw the interests of third world education, and make that dollar.

Sadly that's the way of the world. If OLPC managed to get all the manufactures to donate their time and parts, and they themselves were willing to donate their time for free, this would not be an issue at all. The kids would simply get their laptops for free and everyone everything would be kosher.

Now, if everyone was willing to work for free just to benefit themselves and their fellow man we would all be living in a utopian world. Sadly that isn't the case, and most likely it won't be for a very long time, if ever. The employees at OLPC, AMD and Intel all need to eat and live, thus the dollar rules supreme, even in cases like this, that on the surface seem very altruistic. AMD and Intel are in this for the money in the long run. If the kids happen to get an education in the process, that's just a bonus.

I don't think what Intel is doing is wrong, and I applaud AMD, Intel and OLPC for their efforts to bring internet porn to the masses, even if it's only to make a few (billion) bucks in the next 10 years.

markjensen said,
Intel is really doing a great job. Distributing propaganda entitled "The Shortcomings of OLPC" and so forth.

And they can afford to sell at a loss. They will knock the self-funded not-for-profit OLPC out easily. Then the market is left with what? Stuck with the one Intel solution.

Go capitalism! Screw the interests of third world education, and make that dollar.


Partially true. After Intel kills OLPC's non profit business, Intel will lose interest and stop making them. Then there will be know one making them. Big companies do this all the time to the small guy.

markjensen said,
Intel is really doing a great job. Distributing propaganda entitled "The Shortcomings of OLPC" and so forth.

And they can afford to sell at a loss. They will knock the self-funded not-for-profit OLPC out easily. Then the market is left with what? Stuck with the one Intel solution.

Go capitalism! Screw the interests of third world education, and make that dollar.

The free market wins again!

Sad really. I'd understand if they were competing and fighting for profit but the OLPC is, as the article says, non-profit.

Intel should be ashamed.