Intel pulls out of One Laptop Per Child

Intel resigns from '$100' laptop project after failing to agree on sales of competing products

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By  Matthew Wade Published  January 9, 2008

Intel has parted ways with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, which aims to boost learning in poorer nations through the provision of the ‘$100' XO laptop PCs, with Intel citing philosophical differences between its approach and that of its former partner.

Intel joined the OLPC project in July last year, and had been supplying both cash and technical expertise, however the firm will now concentrate on distributing its own low-cost Intel Classmate PC, as part of its World Ahead programme.

The OLPC had asked Intel to stop promoting the Classmate PC, which sells at around $300, but Intel refused.

"Intel has concluded that it cannot accommodate the OLPC request for two reasons," said an Intel spokesperson this week. "First Intel has long believed that there is no single solution to the needs of children in emerging and underdeveloped markets. We have always said there will be many solutions but the most important priority is to serve the need. Secondly, if Intel were to exclusively support the XO over other platforms it would force us to abandon our relationships with many local OEMs and suppliers."

"Enabling a localised solution in developing countries is a core value in Intel's efforts because it reaches beyond just the children beneficiaries to create home grown businesses and entrepreneurship. We believe that the more solution providers there are in this area the more quickly and efficiently the benefits will spread," the statement added.

In a statement in response to Intel's resignation, the OLPC said that it was "disappointed that Intel did not deliver on any of the promises they made when they joined OLPC".

The OLPC project's aim is to encourage learning in poorer nations through the provision of custom-built laptops. Its aim has always been to get the cost per unit down to just $100, largely through a strategy of doing large-scale government deals dealing with PC quantities as large as a million.

A final XO product was manufactured in November 2007, running on an AMD CPU, and has subsequently been trialled in Nigeria and Uruguay at a cost of approximately $188 per unit.

Questioned by itp.net, an Intel spokesperson today confirmed that the company has already implemented Intel-powered Classmate PC solutions in schools in Libya, Nigeria, Lebanon, Egypt, Kenya and Morocco.

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