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Why Intel and OLPC Parted Ways

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-the-drama dept.

Intel 393

runamock writes "The New York Times has an article that sheds some light on why Intel left the OLPC board: 'A frail partnership between Intel and the One Laptop Per Child educational computing group was undone last month in part by an Intel saleswoman: She tried to persuade a Peruvian official to drop the country's commitment to buy a quarter-million of the organization's laptops in favor of Intel PCs. Intel and the group had a rocky relationship from the start in their short-lived effort to get inexpensive laptops into the hands of the world's poorest children. But the saleswoman's tactic was the final straw for Nicholas Negroponte.'"

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fpppppp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931534)

frosty eh????

Intel just sucks. (4, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931546)

If not for AMD, Intel would be the M$ of the processor market. Although I fully understand the benefits of a free market, etc., Intel's behavior regarding the OLPC is reprehensible. Instead of offering cut-rate chips to support the project and potentially gain goodwill and new loyal customers worldwide they took the low road.

Shame.

Re:Intel just sucks - Agreed (2, Insightful)

AetherBurner (670629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931680)

I have to agree with the above poster. Intel is raking in $$$$$$ on their products and a little benevolence toward the groups that the OLPC is aimed for won't kill their bottom line one bit. Huzzah to Mr. Negroponte for sticking to his philosophy and not rolling over in the name of $$$. There are many for-profit companies that can use this as a valuable lesson in philanthropy. One problem is that there are so few people out there like Mr. Negroponte in the business world. One thing that my mum keeps telling me is that $DEITY keeps track of things like this. Long Live OLPC and benevolence.

-- Aetherburner
        "In the company of wind, dust achieves great heights. In the company of rain, it's mud."

Re:Intel just sucks - Agreed (4, Interesting)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932234)

One problem is that there are so few people out there like Mr. Negroponte in the business world

In my experience, there are tons of people in the business world like Mr. Negroponte. We don't hear about them for two reasons. First, they tend to be small business owners. Second, they tend not to do heinous things. The news goes for interesting stories, which excludes the small fry doing something nice for someone else.

Re:Intel just sucks. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931692)

> If not for AMD, Intel would be the M$ of the processor market.

Isn't that just some Godwin variant? [wikipedia.org]

AMD, Apple, IBM, Intel... these are just companies trying to outsmart the competition. You don't seriously think the Intel board sat down and said, "hey let's maliciously fuck-over the OLPC project"? That would take a special brand of evil, the kind that is only occurs naturally in Redmond.

Re:Intel just sucks. (2, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932038)

It's kind of a dumb point anyway. Intel would certainly be like MS if it weren't for AMD, but that's true of pretty much any company. Apple would be just like MS if they had MS' market share, Madden has been declining in quality ever since EA got that exclusive license from the NFL, and so forth. Any company who has a monopoly is going to act like MS, so why single out Intel?

Re:Intel just sucks. (4, Insightful)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932244)

Paraphrase: "Everyone and everything is just the same. You'd be just as bad if you had the chance. The only reason you're not a criminal too is that you don't have what it takes to be evil."

The fact is that not all people, and not all companies, are willing to do anything (and everything), regardless of law and morality, in order crush their competition. What you are suggesting, really, is "why single out individuals who act badly". What this means is that acting badly should be the status que. No.

Re:Intel just sucks. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932276)

I'm not suggesting that at all. I'm suggesting that we shouldn't single out individuals (or corporations) in a hypothetical scenario. Actual behavior should be frowned upon (or smiled upon), not "They would act this way if..." scenarios.

Re:Intel just sucks. (5, Insightful)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932242)

You don't seriously think the Intel board sat down and said, "hey let's maliciously fuck-over the OLPC project"?

Your comment might have been intended as humor, but it's currently marked "insightful" so I'm responding to it on that basis (if not for your sake than for the sake of anyone who does think it's insightful).

Aside from the specific choice of language, you really think it's far fetched? If so, then let me spell it out for you: YES, Intel could well have had meetings where they explicitly planned to do things in breach of either the word or spirit of their arrangements with OLPC, aka "maliciously fucking over" their partner. Intel is a for-profit American corporation. Not even outright breaches of contract are off-limits for corporations; they'll do it every time they think it will make them more money than holding to a contract would.

It is far more plausible that Intel planned this all the way up the ladder than that this one salesperson just decided to be a maverick and try to subvert things without any approval from management.

I'd hate to think you're more comfortable hiding behind the posture that technically, nobody at any Intel meetings used the specific words "maliciously fuck-over".

Re:Intel just sucks. (3, Insightful)

just_forget_it (947275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931964)

This is exactly what Microsoft did to IBM during the OS/2 Warp project. Still, I think Intel has hit a new low with this one. Sabotage between two for-profit companies is one thing, but a for-profit company pulling this on a non-profit org is beyond despicable. It's like if a construction company and Habitat for Humanity were working together on a project and came up with some really good design ideas, then the construction company, half-way through construction, takes every scrap of material and blueprints away from the job site and uses them to build houses for paying customers.

So they're a normal corporation, eh? (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932176)

So basically they're a normal corporation, acting perfectly normally to create more value for its shareholders, eh?

I mean, just like, say, Sun during Scott McNealy's CEO days, going "we love Linux and OSS" in the morning and "Linux is teh suck! Die! Die! Die!" in the evening of the same day? Or like IBM showing up at Athlon launches and proclaiming its undying love for AMD, then spending 100 million on developping an Intel-only chipset that nearly negated the advantage of AMD's IMC and hypertransport? Or like AOL using Netscape to negotiate a big subsidy from MS, essentially a huge corporate bribe to use IE instead of Netscape, then suing MS for anti-competitive behaviour against Netscape? Etc.

Sad to say, that's just normal behaviour for corporations. Someone showing up at your product launches is more of a way for _them_ to be in the public's eye, than really meaning that they won't backstab you the next day.

What's normal for normal people, isn't normal at all for corporations and viceversa. If someone acted like a corporation and showed up to proclaim his undying friendship in the morning, then tried to lead a mob with torches and pitchforks to your home in the evening, chances are we'd put them in a mental institution. But conversely, if a corporation tried to stay your best friend even if it loses them money, the shareholders would want heads to roll.

To be entirely fair, though, it's also a mistake to see a corporation as one monolythic entity with only one brain. Just because department X thinks you're the best thing since sliced bread, doesn't mean that department Y won't try to backstab you. Sometimes even just because the manager of department X really just wants to undermine the manager of department Y.

In some cases they even backstab each other. See, for example, the sad story of OS/2. One department developed it as an alternative to paying the Windows tax to MS. Another department refused to ship IBM computers with OS/2 installed, because they could get a bigger discount on Windows if they're MS-only on the computers they sell.

Don't try to understand internal corporate politics, that-a-way lies madness of Lovecraft proportions.

Re:Intel just sucks. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932212)

Well, actually, Intel's behavior is in many ways worse than MS's. Had AMD not created a better chip at the right time, they would be GONE! Intel had every intention of killing them off. Now, as to AMD, you do not really think that they are that much better? If they were in the top spot, most likely, they would have nothing to do with OLPC and it would be VIA based.

Poor management by CEO Paul Otellini (4, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932214)

"Intel's behavior regarding the OLPC is reprehensible."

Intel employees I've met have gone further than that. They are saying that the management of Intel CEO Paul S. Otellini [wikipedia.org] is reprehensible. They say he is socially unskilled. They are saying he creates dissension and reduces morale among Intel employees by creating adversarial situations.

Certainly Otellini's handling of the One Laptop Per Child initiative could not have been worse. It was as though he said to himself, "How can I get billions of dollars worth of free publicity for Intel, all negative?" Intel's actions have created the impression that Intel wants to kill acceptance of the OLPC so that it can kill the OLPC project and then raise prices on its own products.

Anyone thinking of buying an Intel consumer product should know that Intel had a consumer products division in 2001 and decided to close it: Intel axes its consumer electronics unit [zdnet.co.uk] . Why? In my opinion, the Intel Consumer Products Division was extremely poorly managed.

Also, Intel's marketing has been incredibly poorly managed. At one point, Intel was trying to sell processors by giving away dolls. Typical reaction: "Could this be the end of the bunny ads? We sure as hell hope so..." [theregister.co.uk]

There is no evidence that I can see that Intel is managed better today. Here is an April 2006 example I found quickly: Intel's consumer fumbling [zdnet.co.uk] , in which Intel is trying to sell products using an unpronounceable trademark.

Re:Intel just sucks. (1)

velen (1198819) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932338)

There are always opportunities for making a profit. The concept of the OLPC was charity. Corporations that don't have a clue about such things are better off not participating. This is certainly a dent in Intel's reputation. I find it harder to believe that people justify the sales pitch.

The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (3, Insightful)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931578)

Intel Quits Effort to Get Computers to Children
Um... that sounds a bit spun doesn't it? Intel still sells the Classmate PC, and in the Peruvian case, the Intel machines it's trying to sell will still go to the same target audience as the OLPC units, it's not like they suddenly hate kids!

Now regardless of who's making the machines and what OS, CPU blah blah they have in them, it's good that this device class actually exists and it's great that more people around the world get a chance to use devices that we take forgranted. OLPC and the Classmate are both doing a good job, and I'd love to see other devices like the EEE PC tailored towards developing nations in the near future.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931632)

Um... that sounds a bit spun doesn't it? Intel still sells the Classmate PC, and in the Peruvian case, the Intel machines it's trying to sell will still go to the same target audience as the OLPC units, it's not like they suddenly hate kids!
I don't think it is spun at all.

Intel wants to sell PC's. They don't care who gets them. For Intel all the feelgood stuff is just a means to an end.

OLPC doesn't care about selling PC's. ALL they care about is who gets them. For OLPC all the business stuff is just a means to an end.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (-1, Troll)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931782)

Thats a load of horseshit and you know it. OLPC is just as much about making a profit to keep the operation going as it is for Intel. Dont kid yourself about that. Their motives might be good (and a good number would tell you even THAT is very questionable, when they are selling computers to people whos popuations go without healthy DRINKING WATER) but in the end they are selling just the same.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (2, Interesting)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931872)

making a profit to keep the operation going
Profit is not required to continue the OLPC program, only a lack of losing large amounts of money.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931932)

Actually, it's not. There are still quite a few businesses that exist to benefit others. OLPC is not about making a profit... it's a non-profit organization!

Part of the OLPC, whether spoken directly or not, is that old "give a man a fish and he eats for the day, teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life." There are plenty of charities and organizations built around the notion of "feed the children." I'd like to say "those bases are covered" but perhaps not as well as people would like. (You'll find their local governments are often the ones getting in the way of the 'feed the children' successes... some for good reason, some not.)

But as long as these 3rd world nations do not grow intellectually, they will remain the starving, dependent children of world.

If OLPC was intending to make a profit, there were many decisions that could have been made along the way that would have reflected that end. They made decisions and continue to make decisions based on their mission -- a charitable one. It's okay you choose not to believe in it. It's often hard to believe in something that's not profit oriented these days.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (0, Offtopic)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932120)

Yeah your right. If I don't know how to do something I ask Google or if its about something Wikipedia usually has my answer.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (1, Offtopic)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932112)

It seems you are the one full of it and you don't even know it.

The OLPC is a non-profit organization, I find it hard to believe you don't understand what that means. Let me give you a hint, non-profit means NO PROFIT? Many people and organizations are donating time, cash, and technology to OLPC which they will write off on their taxes as donations to a charitable organization, it is a non-profit. Obviously OLPC needs capital to continue but its not the same motivation or need as a profit driven corporation. Negroponte had a good explanation when queried about this latest incident...

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. If the Classmate were in the hands of every single child in the world, that would be pretty good. Could it have better power charcteristics, a better display, etc.? Sure, that would be good. But I don't care if kids get the XO so much as that they get laptops.


And it is outrageous that anyone continues to this day to push the argument that somehow OLPC's objectives are questionable because starving children need drinking water or whatever other basic need people decide to throw in the argument. If you'd bother to research where these laptops are going and the years of research completed by the OLPC people to achieve their objective, which by the way is not simply about giving laptops to kids, you would realize that the kids who are receiving OLPC laptops HAVE DRINKING WATER. There are many poor children in the world who have food, have drinking water, have a place to live, and in many cases are even receiving an education, who can benefit from the theories of constructionism first developed by Papert.

If your going to post comments attacking OLPC at the very least you should go to laptop.org [laptop.org] , click on the 1, and read about the projects vision.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (5, Insightful)

alegrepublic (83799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932280)

Intel wants to sell PC's.
There lies the problem. Intel should restrain from selling PC's and focus on selling chips. They are abusing their prominent position in the chip market to get an unfair advantage in other markets. They have learned too much from their unnamed software partner.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (4, Interesting)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931806)

"Um... that sounds a bit spun doesn't it?"

Maybe in favour of Intel? A more accurate headline, but one that could be construed as inflammatory would be:

Intel attempts to subvert efforts to get computers to children.

"the Intel machines it's trying to sell will still go to the same target audience as the OLPC units"

For about twice the price. Which means half the number of units.

"it's not like they suddenly hate kids!"

Well, no. They just dont like kids quite as much as they like money.

I don't particularly dislike Intel, but in this case I must say I find their behaviour offensive. This will go on their permanent record and get weighed in for future purchases.

"I'd love to see other devices like the EEE PC tailored towards developing nations in the near future."

In the long run, paving the ground for this device class is without a doubt the greatest contribution of the OLPC project.

Re:The NYT headline is a bit inflammatory... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932290)

I've never seen a user with a 5-digit ID use such inept formatting for quotes. Just using quotation marks makes your comment a bit painful to read. Use some quote tags or italics or indent or something, man!

Which kids primary or secondary school (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932010)

You must have missed the bit in the article which said the peruvian government was interested in the classmate for secondary education older children and intel tried to sell it as a replacement for the olpc which was being bought for primary school children. Can you see the distinction it's not the same target audience.

Intel got greedy (or confused), if they had not chosen to go after the primary school market with the classmate and stuck with the secondary schools they two laptops would compliment each other. Instead they were trying to backstab the OLPC project.

Intel have behaved very badly, they would have had a lot of good will and sales if they hadn't been so crass.
You can only wonder if Intel did this to appease its biggest customer, Microsoft.

Re:Which kids primary or secondary school (3, Informative)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932454)

You can only wonder if Intel did this to appease its biggest customer, Microsoft.

Sit down, and wrap your head around the idea of sales. Salespeople are typically paid by commission. The more they sell, the more they earn. They also have quotas. If they don't sell enough in a given time span, they're terminated. Salespeople think short-term; they think tactics; they think until the end of the sale. They think, "If I don't get the sale I move on, and so does the other guy. It's just business." Long term, strategic goals don't enter the picture (that's marketing). And this isn't stupid or callous, it's what the job requires of them.

In Intel's case, a saleswoman saw an opportunity to push more product. She took it, it blew up in her face, and Intel gets to scrub the fallout. The story ends there. So please, do us a favor and cut the Microsoft conspiracy a break.

No surprise here (3, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931610)

I'm sure Intel is going to get lots of hate posts here. And most of that will be because a lot of people fail to see one important issue.

Intel is a for-profit corporation beholden to its stock holders...no profit, stock holders get pissed, executives get thrown out. OLPC is a non-profit that doesn't have to worry about making money, and in fact can lose money as needed...no one is looking for a profit.

The first reply I saw here made a comment about Intel throwing away good will by not selling OLPC chips at a big discount. Here's a news flash for you people...stock holders mostly don't give squat about good will. Good will does not increase the bottom line of their stock portfolio or give them a fat dividend check.

Intel is not a charity. AMD can work with OLPC because AMD is in second place and is willing to do anything to *be* Intel. Likewise, Negroponte (I've gotta put that guy's name in my spell checker), while his goals are commendable and I really do hope OLPC succeeds, is not being realistic as far as the business side of it goes in regards to Intel.

Re:No surprise here (2, Funny)

Peter Nikolic (1093513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931674)

> stock holders get pissed Oh dear what a flamin shame darn stock ho9lders demanding ever bigger slices of the pie get right up my thrupenny bits and thay all need to kiss off outta the way And yea so what if i get Karma bad at least i aint affraid of sayin what has to be said .

Re:No surprise here (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932060)

What... the hell... are you drunk? That sentence is fairly incomprehensible to me. o.O

Fiduciary duty. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931708)

"...a lot of people fail to see one important issue. Intel is a for-profit corporation beholden to its stock holders..."

Nah, they signed on to the board of directors of their own free will, and that comes with fiduciary duties.
If you can't execute your duties under an agreement, don't sign on to it. Period.

Re:No surprise here (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931710)

Stating that stockholders are selfish is not realy a good reason not to hate them.

Re:No surprise here (5, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931722)

Very true, but it's an excuse.
As a stockholder you are never asked about whether you want your corporation to behave well.
As a stockholder you are given an annual meeting, with buffet and speeches and an opposition which seldom raises questions like: why does this bank finances this oppressive regime? why does this corporation infiltrate and boycott this humanitarian program? To make me earn more? If I want to earn more no matter the ethics, I'd be a criminal. Especially in the criminal's paradise Italy has become.

Re:No surprise here (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932298)

At the annual meeting, shareholders can ask questions. Sure, if you've only got a few votes, you'll be brushed off - but embarrassing answers have a tendency to wind up on blogs, and in reports by special interest groups.

Of course, you can go one better, and phone up your pension fund today, and ask about their investment policies, their exclusionary list, their set of standards for Corporate social responsibility. When pension funds, who often own percentage-stakes in companies, speak up - or worse, band together - corporations tend to sit up. Is your pension fund a member of ceres [ceres.org] ? The same goes for mutual funds, you can influence their buying and voting policies - or simply buy into another fund. In Europe, several of the world's largest pension funds have socially aware investment policies, examining company's conduct with respect to environment, workers' rights, arms trade, etc.

If you own stock yourself, make sure you get proxy ballots. Perhaps join an investor coalition, like ICCR [iccr.org] . They've only been at this for, like, 35 years.

In fact, groups like ICCR and CERES are calling for shareholder rights [saveshareh...rights.org] to be preserved, precisely because they are effectively using those rights. Which may at times inconvenience boards of directors (oh dear, we wouldn't want million dollar income CxOs be inconvenienced now, would we? They might have to work to earn a living).

Re:No surprise here (1)

wolvesofthenight (991664) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932374)

Saul Alinsky [wikipedia.org] attempted to change that by organizing the share holders to demand that cooperations maintain good behavior. Sadly he died before really getting anywhere with that. Too bad, especially since he might well have managed it had he lived.

Re:No surprise here (4, Insightful)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931724)

Which is fine. I encourage Intel to keep seeking out revenue. That doesn't excuse them from attempting back-door deals that go against contracts that they have made. If Intel had never signed up to assist OLPC, trying to get a piece of the market would not only make sense, but it would be commendable (as any form of competition would increase consumer choice, and thereby most likely drive down prices and force innovation). If one sleezy sales person (sorry for the redundancy there) decides that their commission is more important than one of their company's contracts, that's another thing. I don't think practicing dishonest business is excusable.

At least Intel had the decency to void their contract, instead of just continuing not to honor it.

Re:No surprise here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931730)

Bullshit. Sorry!

I'm sick and tired of this hard-nosed extreemist capitalist view. It's bullshit, pure and simple. Take a look at what you're actually saying - competing with and screwing over a charity is really bad form. You people need to remember that capitalism is NOT PERFECT, and worshipping it's principles as if they were the most fundamental rules in the universe is really dumb.

Re:No surprise here (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931732)

"Good will does not increase the bottom line"

Oh really? Is that why many annual reports will give good will a dollar value?

Good will is an investment, generally a long term one. No surprise that the stock market is generally focused on short term profit.

Intel did a stupid thing (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931750)

Good will does not increase the bottom line of their stock portfolio or give them a fat dividend check.

Yes, but lowering costs does improve the bottom line. How much of the Classmate's cost is software? Remember, Microsoft isn't a charity either. Intel has no reason to help Microsoft, they could make an Intel computer at a lower cost with 100% free software in it.


Besides the cost of software itself, no matter if it's $3 or $300, Linux runs on lower hardware specs than Microsoft products. The XO needs extra memory to run a version of MS-Windows, which means still more cost.

Re:No surprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931808)

Let me guess? You've become a big Intel booster ever since your beloved Apple started using Intel processors. I'm sure that I read your fan-boi posts on the last Apple story: s/Intel/Apple/g

Re:No surprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931838)

Going after business against a charity with which you are involved is just wrong. If they don't think there is enough profit in it, don't sell chips to them in the first place. If they were already trying to get into the third world market, they should've stayed out of OLPC. Goodwill is a balance sheet item and although you can't use it as cash, it can help when it comes time to borrow.

Our local firefighters sell Lifesavers on the corners a few times a year for various charities including their own widows and orphans fund. Would it be right for Wrigley to start selling gum next to them? Wrigley gets the initial , albeit discounted, sale of the Lifesavers. I they don't like the profit margin, don't sell.

Re:No surprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931840)

> Here's a news flash for you people...
> stock holders mostly don't give squat about good will.

That I guess would explain a company like Microsoft with its history
of sleazy business tactics, but how do you explain a for-profit
company like Google whose motto is "Don't do Evil?"

I mean, am I confused about Google's business model which seems
to be based on 2 strategies:
1) Good service to the customers
2) Don't Piss Off the customers with some lame spyware or eula, etc.

--- Johnny doesn't think being for profit means having to be for jackass behavior

Re:No surprise here (1)

gtomorrow (996670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931844)

Am I not understanding not only you but also the poster above this comment ("The NYT Headline is a bit inflammatory")??? Yeah, Intel is a for-profit company that does have a "responsibility" to its shareholders. And that's all well and good and clear to just about anybody. But since when does partnering with a CHARITABLE, NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization give a company the right to undermine the non-profit organization? You both seem to think Intel's actions were foreseeable (scorpion and frog) and even acceptable, vaffanculo to ethics. Do you actually condone this type of behaviour?

If Intel was not willing to play a role in a CHARITABLE, NOT-FOR-PROFIT organization, then (super-obvious conclusion) Intel should not have entered into a partnership with the OLPC project. Not rocket science. You both must be salesmen.

Re:No surprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931866)

Intel is not a charity.

That's oft repeated but it's still utter hogwash. "Intel the Company" only exists in our brains. In reality Intel (like all other big companies) is run by a hundred thousand living, breathing, talking, walking and feeling humans. (And I suspect you can guess why I'm posting this anonymously.)

Intel did and does a lot of charitable acts that are barely explainable via the cynical "stockholders uber alles" mantra. Intel, like all big corporations, consists of a mix of sociopaths and good people. The good people do stuff for themselves and for others. The sociopaths only do stuff for themselves - they are genetically hardwired and are unable to be compassionate.

Intel could easily have argued that "backing the XO project is good for PR" and there's nothing the beancounters or any "stockholder" could have complained about.

But this time the greedy sociopaths won. Cheers to you Mr. Otellini and cheers to you Mr. Ballmer, you really succeeded this time around. One more generation of kids lives without proper education. I hope you feel good about this "business success" and enjoy that extra living room in your mansion. You really needed that money - this is captalism after all, with no room for feelings and compassion, except towards your own close circle of people, right?

Re:No surprise here (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931890)

Hm, before the wave of I hate stockholders.... remember one thing: those of you with pensions or other investments are probably putting money into the corporate stockholders portfolios so before you say shareholders == bad think: no share profits, no dividends and you'll have less return == lower pensions etc.

Sadly these days none of us with realistic pension plans etc are free of the taint of shareholder status.

Oil price! (1)

egork (449605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932282)

those of you with pensions or other investments are probably putting money into the corporate stockholders portfol

May be, if this time a corporation will do some good to poor people e.g. in Venezuela, or, at least not obstruct a charity, people in the country will be more friendly to USA and this will reflect in oil prices? Or, may be, less will die or get unproductive because their addiction to cocaine from Colombia... You see what I mean?

Re:No surprise here (3, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931918)

>Intel is not a charity.

So? Any company or wealthy person for that matter will lose x amount of his/her income to the government in taxes if that money/product is not given to charity. This gives everyone of means and every company a HUGE incentive to act charitable. Hell, lots of companies use this to get rid off products that are market failures and that would actually cost them money to dispose of properly! There's no excuse to not acting charitable towards non-profits in America. None.

Re:No surprise here (1)

dpolak (711584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932012)

This is the problem with the North American corporate model. By law the corporation's only concern is the shareholder. North American's market is an open one, go to the lowest bidder, regardless of where they are. Until this is changed we will hit rock bottom on everything, economy, environment, community, etc. We all have to get past the greed and start thinking about the people, environment and communities that these corporations come from and sell to. Don't expect Bush to change that any time soon.....

Re:No surprise here (4, Insightful)

Cerebus (10185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932022)

Most corporations have a "public interest" clause in their corporate charters. This is required by the State so the public derives some benefit in exchange for the indemnification of owners from corporate liabilities. Technically speaking, a corporation that fails to act in the public interest *as well as* the interests of the owners (which should often be one and the same) should have its charter revoked.

Unfortunately, State Attorneys General have forgotten this.

Re:No surprise here (1)

localman (111171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932036)

Being a business is not mutually exclusive with being ethical.

I would also argue that good will can increase the bottom line. This is why many companies promote the idea that they take part in charity projects.

And to claim Negroponte is being unrealistic? Would a better course of action be to encourage Intel in undermining the success of OLPC? It would seem to me that Intel is being unreasonable trying to undermine the project while being on the board.

Cheers.

Re:No surprise here (2, Interesting)

sjofi (307114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932136)

selling goods at affordable prices in developing countries does not imply that the company would not make profit for it's shareholders doing so. look at mobile phones, in few short years the subscription base has risen to over 3b. That's half of the planets population and includes a lot of ppl in the developing countries. the trend is there is continuing, mobile phone prices are decreasing and are thus all the time more affordable.

this has been possible because the mobile phone companies, most notably nokia, decided to serve these developing markets and design and produce cheap mobile phones. now you can go to nokia's financials and assess whether they're for-profit or not... intel, on the other hand, has chosen another approach: they're ignoring the poor of the world. they could've addressed the needs of this market for over a decade. and they could have done it profitably. instead they've simply chosen not to.

Criticism of Intel (2, Insightful)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932210)

Good will does not increase the bottom line of their stock portfolio or give them a fat dividend check.
So because they're acting in the way that one would expect, we shouldn't criticise them because it would generate undeserved ill-will?

Quite apart from being wrong (it's going to have some effect, for some slashdotters will be favouring AMD when all other things are near enough equal), your position is a little odd. Intel deserve criticism if they're doing wrong by the critic. Aren't all actors meant to be working in their own interests? Well, for some of us, our interests include the success of projects such as the OLPC. If you believe that "interest" necessarily means self-interest, you haven't studied your economics throughly. Supply and demand doesn't care about the cause of the motive, just its existance.

Re:No surprise here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932358)

I see this excuse every time some business gets raked over the coals for acting like a business.

What YOU fail to see however is that, we don't give a shit about the stockholders. That's great and all that they are making money but that doesn't change a damn thing. We don't care about the motives, we care about the end result.

They can keep on acting like a greedy business and we'll act like we hate that and cost them some money over it. It's the only way to handle stuff like this so yea, sit down and shut up.

The poorest (5, Funny)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931614)

I hope it's not really "the poorest children" that are getting the laptops. You can't eat a laptop. Give them to the second poorest.

Re:The poorest (2, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931834)

"Give them to the second poorest."

Yep, that's the ones the OLPC project is aimed at. IIRC, part of the idea was to replace cost of educational material, so paying for the OLPC would basically be cheaper than buying books for the students (over a period of several years).

Re:The poorest (3, Insightful)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931896)

>You can't eat a laptop.

I really hate it when people attack those who choose to cure the underlying disease instead of the immediate symptoms.

The goal here is to allow these groups of people to become self sufficient, so that they can eat the results of their own agricultural endeavors. Education is the _only_ way to raise a country out of poverty as handouts only prolong an existing fundamental flaw. Necroponte strikes at the root of poverty with tools and information, and it is this information that can overcome not only hunger, but greed and corruption as well. This is a long-term solution as these are the sorts of problems that may take a generation to fix, but if someone doesn't break the cycle all the aid in the world will only amount to a stopgap measure and a people totally dependent on aid for their survival. OLPC is a very noble means to a end.

Re:The poorest (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932110)

An ineffective means to an end, however noble, imo. To offer a counterpoint to what you said: I really hate it when people defend the OLPC project like it's actually going to make a difference. It's not going to, and it's the biggest waste of money I've ever seen (well, the biggest one not run by the US government...). People who are in dire need are far more likely to sell their OLPC laptops to others in order to pay for necessities than to actually use them, and I don't blame them either. It's what I'd do if I was in a situation that bad.

But meh, OLPC is never going to see a cent from me (unless, 20 years from now, they have magically improved things, then I might start donating), and others are of course free to waste their money as they see fit.

Re:The poorest (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932332)

Wasn't that the excuse for excluding blacks from education? It won't help them because they aren't capable of learning. The fact is that systems can evolve and priming the pump works. To deny the possibility of change and betterment is akin to mental depression. Perhaps Zoloft would help.

Re:The poorest (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932448)

Excuse me, aren't we an ass this morning. First: I said that the really badly-off people would be uninterested in a laptop, because they have bigger and better priorities, not that they're unable to learn. Second: I do not deny the possibility of change and betterment, merely claim that this is a poor way to bring it about. Third: I'm not depressed, and that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, so what the hell's your point? Ah, I get it. You probably don't have one, and are just being snarky. Well, that's your loss.

Re:The poorest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932048)

Why, is the 2nd poorest kid gonna eat the poorest, then use his laptop?

Giving food hurts more than helps (3, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932088)

I hear this "give food" talk a lot.

When you dump a lot of food into a depressed region, the farmers in that region can't sell a damn thing. They are driven out of their livelihood, further depressing the region.

Giving food keeps people in poverty. If you want to help.... give education. Give a cow. Give seeds. Give time and effort.

Dumping food on the poor doesn't help anyone.

-T

GREED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931616)

It sure does ruin alot of good things anymore...

Re:GREED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931670)

Your hideous grasp of english ruined your post, I don't see you running to grade school for remedial english classes.
Hint: There is no such word as "alot". You don't write "alittle", do you?
"Anymore" doesn't mean what you think it means.

Re:GREED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931752)

Your hideous grasp of english ruined your post, I don't see you running to grade school for remedial english classes.
Your hideous grasp of punctuation ruined your sassy retort.
Hint: Two disjoint sentences are separated by a period.
Comma doesn't mean what you think it means.

Re:GREED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931992)

Greed is not nearly as bad as spelling, grammar, and punctuation nazis.

greed is good for something at least.

Unreasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931618)

It makes no sense for Intel to sell the OLPC laptop verses their own brand.

Negroponte is being unreasonable in expecting Intel to instruct its sales force to say "Oh, you are getting an OLPC, I will stop trying to sell my companies product."

Intel's best contribution to the project would be helping to design the 2nd generation machine.

Re:Unreasonable (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932240)

> It makes no sense for Intel to sell the OLPC laptop verses their own brand.

It does if you cast your mind back to why they joined the OLPC group in the first place.

> Negroponte is being unreasonable in expecting Intel to instruct its sales force to say "Oh, you are getting an OLPC, I will stop trying to sell my companies product."

Because Intel are a partner in the OLPC project, one would reasonably expect them not to actively work against the best interests of the OLPC project, i.e. by getting the contact info of OLPC customers and then trying to undercut the OLPC deal.

> Intel's best contribution to the project would be helping to design the 2nd generation machine.

I think Intel's best contribution is the one they have done, leave it. Next step : get out of the market.

intel != bad guys here (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931624)

Negroponte is a pompous egomaniac with a proper academic's hatred of big corporations. Of course he's going to try to make them bend over backwards on top of giving him millions of dollars to fund his 'think of the children!' ego-trip, and then whine about it to the press when they behave just like a big corporation should.

Differences of philosophy (2, Interesting)

arigram (1202657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931662)

You probably have heard the phrase "we are not a charity, we are a business" before, I am certain. Well, this is the case.

OLPC is a charity, not a business.
Intel is a business, not a charity.

(using the word "charity" to get the phrase going, there are of course better sounding ones)

Re:Differences of philosophy (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931868)

OLPC is a charity, not a business.

Intel is a business, not a charity.

That's a very depressing way of looking at things, you neither need nor have too act like an asshole in order to make money surely? I'm sure there must some middle ground in any case.

Re:Differences of philosophy (1)

joto (134244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932002)

You can't have lived long in the real world, if that's what you find "very depressing". Personally, I can't for the life of me see that it's possible to view this in any other way, but I'm far from cynic enough to make money in the real world, as a salesman. No sir, I live from my paycheck sent to me from a company who is willing to pay me so they can exploit my time and abilities. But if you believe you can make it in the world of business-deals yourself, with a soft heart, feel free to try.

Re:Differences of philosophy (1)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932076)

I've lived in the real world long enough to know exactly what I said - that the world isn't made of finites and divided into black and white. There is absolutely no reason why there cannot be middle ground between charity and business, as is shown by the other OLPC board members.

Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (5, Insightful)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931684)

I just wrote up an article on this story yesterday.

Expect to hear all the usual "Intel is a business" bullsh*t that always comes up.

What has to be remembered is that Google is a business, Red Hat is a business, News Corp is a business too, and yet none of them actively tried to sabotage the OLPC foundation they had contracted to be a part of. Somehow they can justify their participation to the stockholders, but Intel can't? Intel was acting competitively before they joined the OLPC foundation in July of last year. After that time they continued to do so, only now they had access to a lot more information about XO potential buyers. Their behavior was despicable and only further enforces my decision long ago to buy AMD processors exclusively.

Adding insult to injury, Intel holds a press conference call announcing the decision to split, without informing the OLPC board. Read through the stories from last Thursday. The olpc foundation had no response because they were shocked.

They recovered nicely in my view with this official response. http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Intel#INTEL_RESIGNS_FROM_OLPC [laptop.org]

I hope Negroponte & company sues for breach of contract.

Re:Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (2, Informative)

mboverload (657893) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931818)

"Intel was unwilling to work cooperatively with OLPC on software development. Over the entire six months it was a member of the association, Intel contributed nothing of value to OLPC: Intel never contributed in any way to our engineering efforts and failed to provide even a single line of code to the XO software efforts - even though Intel marketed its products as being able to run the XO software. The best Intel could offer in regards to an "Intel inside" XO laptop was one that would be more expensive and consume more power - exactly the opposite direction of OLPC's stated mandate and vision."

Re:Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (5, Informative)

kie (30381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931842)

For those too lazy to click to see the official response, (which is pretty damning):
INTEL RESIGNS FROM OLPC

We at OLPC have been disappointed that Intel did not deliver on any of the promises they made when they joined OLPC; while we were hopeful for a positive, collaborative relationship, it never materialized.

Intel came in late to the OLPC association: they joined an already strong and thriving OLPC Board of Directors made up of premier technology partners; these partners have been crucial in helping us fulfill our mission of getting laptops into the hands of children in the developing world. We have always embraced and welcomed other low-cost laptop providers to join us in this mission. But since joining the OLPC Board of Directors in July, Intel has violated its written agreement with OLPC on numerous occasions. Intel continued to disparage the XO laptop in nations that had already decided to partner with OLPC (Uruguay and Peru), with countries that were in the midst of choosing a laptop solution (Brazil and Nigeria), and other countries contemplating a laptop program (Mongolia).

Intel was unwilling to work cooperatively with OLPC on software development. Over the entire six months it was a member of the association, Intel contributed nothing of value to OLPC: Intel never contributed in any way to our engineering efforts and failed to provide even a single line of code to the XO software efforts - even though Intel marketed its products as being able to run the XO software. The best Intel could offer in regards to an "Intel inside" XO laptop was one that would be more expensive and consume more power - exactly the opposite direction of OLPC's stated mandate and vision.

Despite OLPC's best efforts to work things out with Intel and several warnings that their behavior was untenable, it is clear that Intel's heart has never been in working collaboratively as a part of OLPC. This is well illustrated by the way in which our separation was announced singlehandedly by Intel; Intel issued a statement to the press behind our backs while simultaneously asking us to work on a joint statement with them. Actions do speak louder than words in this case. As we said in the past, we view the children as a mission; Intel views them as a market.

The benefit to the departure of Intel from the OLPC board is a renewed clarity in purpose and the marketplace; we will continue to focus on our mission of providing every child with an opportunity for learning.

Re:Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931852)

Hmmm...switched my OS to linux long ago...haven't even bothered to go look at a Vista machine...

Looks like it's time to buy an AMD processor computer...time to switch CPUs...:-)

Re:Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (1)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931954)

I'm somewhat sympathetic to Intel. If the goal is providing broader access to technology, it should not matter who manufacturers the devices as long as the choice is reasonable and non-corrupt. If Negroponte cannot provide a more attractive computer than Intel... what value is the organization really providing?

Re:Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932066)

If Negroponte cannot provide a more attractive computer than Intel... what value is the organization really providing?


Intel's Classmate PC is nearly twice as expensive as the OPLC, it uses more power, it is not as durable or rugged, it does not run as long on a battery charge, it's screen is not dual mode & easily visible in daylight as the OPLC screen is, Intel's Classmate lacks the mesh networking feature and also the hand-crank generator.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLPC_XO-1#Design [wikipedia.org]

You got the question backwards. You should be asking "If Intel cannot provide a more attractive computer than the OLPC XO ... what value is Intel really providing in trying to strongarm its dud machine onto the poor children of the World?"

Re:Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (1)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932208)

Has it occurred to you that the world's poorest children need a hell of a lot more than a laptop?

In my country (Mexico) there are many, many poor children who need health-care, food, clothing and education

A laptop is not going to teach such children to read and write or simple mathematics, instead of investing money on First World priorities it should go to basic needs.

The last government of Mexico started a program called "Enciclomedia" to put computers into schools even remote ones; some companies donated computers by the ton, except of course that the these brilliant people didn't take into consideration that computers use electricity and the poorest towns have no electrical power. Absolutely true. Shame.

How about electricity for every child?

Re:Intel is all kinds of Wrong. (1)

arigram (1202657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932314)

Those businesses have different business plans.
Intel sells hardware.
They enter the project half-heartly not trusting the whole cheap-underperforming laptop concept. Then they see that is the new trend: Asus, even Wal-Mart is doing it and other are thinking about it. Suddenly it makes sense. So, they are off to cut their own share of the pie. Google's plan is to give its software free so it is found everywhere and used by everyone and then money will come.
Red Hat's money is in enterprise support. Plus, the more people know and use Open Source, the better future they have.
etc.etc.
Nobody's doing it for the soul of their mothers.
Even Microsoft wants to play the game, they are just getting resistance because of the conflict in philosophies. Some businesses can go with OLPC and make profit in cooparation and somewhat humility, others want the whole damn pie and the souls of the children to themselves. Negroponte just needs to juggle and find the right balance and that's his job.


Education should be free.
In the case of OLPC, citizens pay with their taxes the laptops their children get, which in turn are shared, not owned. The concepts are different.

Throw a spanner in the works (2, Insightful)

Laxator2 (973549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931694)

The question is, why did Intel join the project to begin with ? It was obvious from the beginning that the only reason was to sabotage the project.

Just like M$'s OOXML, which has only one purpose, of derailing ODF.

Because it should be OLPN? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931706)

One Laptop Per Nigger?

amirite?

conflict of interest (0, Redundant)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931736)

Did anyone think Intel would behave differently? They are competing for the same customers...

It's snowing outside (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931766)

and I have a raging erection.

just thought you should know.

Re:It's snowing outside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932248)

and I have a raging election.

just thought you should know.
There, just fixed that for you.

Trying to sell against a signed order (1)

quiberon2 (986274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931772)

If your competitor has a signed order from a customer, you shouldn't try to sell in such a way as to break up the contract. You can bid for the next contract, of course.

eat my ass pickle fuckbucket (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931810)

suck te crap tickline and spanky spankie spank spank

and thats whats it's all about~

Intel have lost a customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931826)

Intel have lost me as a customer. As long as AMD is selling systems that are approximately the same, I will never, ever, purchase and use an Intel product. And more importantly, I will never recommend Intel to any of my clients.

Microsoft lost me as a revenue source just the same, years ago, when *I* had to stay late at the office because of their "every product is shipped in beta, let the dumbass MCSEs fix it in the field, ha ha screw them, loot" shipping strategy. Well this dumbass got better: I will never, ever purchase or recommend the purchase of a Microsoft product while there is a competitor in the market that provides the same functions. X-box? Media Server? Zune? Never. Ever. Ever.

Re:Intel have lost a customer (1)

**loki969** (880141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931920)

Same here! Until now, I have never bought an Intel cpu and after crooky actions like this one it will stay that way. Obviously the only reason for Intel to join the OLPC platform was to screw with it.

Shame on you Intel!

cause intel sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931884)

--- offtopic ---

The EEEpc or wtf it's called, has Xandros, didn't Xandros sign some pact with Microsoft thus money goes to Microsoft when you buy the laptop?

Why is everyone going after Intel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21931906)

Why is everyone going after Intel? Intel is a business out to make money. As a stockholder, I'm happy that they are trying to earn money for me. Intel isn't a non-profit corporation any more than Apple or AT&T or Verizon or Oracle or Amazon. I want these companies competing for business.

Whether this salesperson did something wise is a different question completely. For large sales, sometimes sales people get over zealous. I've seen **very** large corporate wireless contracts cause salesmen to go crazy.

Re:Why is everyone going after Intel? (1)

**loki969** (880141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931996)

Its not about Intel being a pro-pfofit buisness, it's about Intel trying to screw the OLPC project. There were complains before and Intel promised not to do it again.

Only by coincidence did the OLPC project find out that they were trying to do the exact same thing to the next big volume custumer.

Putting things in perspective ... (1, Troll)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931914)

TFA: "If I can sell 1.5 million computers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Ethiopia, I will feel a lot better than other sales we might make."

It seems that there is no need to characterize the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ethiopia might not be so much in focus, thus it might be interesting to give a quote [usatoday.com] : "The United States has quietly poured weapons and military advisers into Ethiopia, whose recent invasion of Somalia opened a new front in the Bush administration's war on terrorism.
A Christian-led nation in sub-Saharan Africa, surrounded almost entirely by Muslim states, Ethiopia has received nearly $20 million in U.S. military aid since late 2002. That's more than any country in the region except Djibouti.
Last month, thousands of Ethiopian troops invaded neighboring Somalia and helped overturn a fundamentalist Islamic government that the Bush administration said was supported by al-Qaeda.
The U.S. and Ethiopian militaries have "a close working relationship," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said. The ties include intelligence sharing, arms aid and training that gives the Ethiopians "the capacity to defend their borders and intercept terrorists and weapons of mass destruction," he said." (emphasis mine)

Am I the only one who feels that there is something strange about exactly this selection of countries as an intial target market?

CC.

Intel sells PCs? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21931988)

I've never seen an Intel branded machine. I remember the crappy "Intel Inside" stickers, but I haven't seen a specific Intel machine. Wouldn't it piss off the OEMs? OK, I guess the Classmate PC is it.

free market at work? (1)

grumling (94709) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932138)

OLPC has helped to define a market (actually, it seems more like they discovered it, the more I read), and now when someone else sets up shop next door, they cry foul. There's room for Coke and Pepsi, McDonalds and Burger King, and Starbucks and the locals, why not in the third world?

Think of it this way: If a church has a homeless shelter, it is a good thing. If a businessman sees the chance to offer a flophouse for a few bucks a week, it is a bad thing. Either way, the homeless are off the streets at night, but because the businessman isn't doing it to get into heaven, but to make a buck or two, he's the worst kind of evil. But a profitable building is sustainable, a handout only lasts as long as the charitable continue to give.

The thing that I find interesting is that Negroponte keeps pointing out all the faults with the Intel box to the press, like superior technology is always a no-brainer. Maybe he just needs to become a better pitchman when he's meeting with these countries. Maybe these countries have a hard time justifying a purchase that until a few months ago was vaporware. Maybe there's more PCs in these countries than Negroponte thinks, and these countries want to make sure their kids are able to use them.

Re:free market at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932278)

That's a wrong headed analysis. A more accurate analogy would be if the businessman offered to work together with the church to help the homeless, but only did so to acquire information to persuade the city to use zoning laws to put the shelter out of business - with the ultimate goal of allowing the businessman to provide a housing alternative that cost more and served fewer people.

OLPC can blame itself (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932182)

OLPC can blame itself... Comeon, letting Intel sit on it's board as a partner? It's like Colonel Sanders admintting a fox on it's board!!!!

OLPC is an expensive toy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932198)

I've got one. Wish I hadn't.

It's not worth the hype. Contrary to slashdot group-think, it's nothing that's going to let third-world people turn into the super-coders or become e-commerce trading gurus that launch them out of poverty.

The hardware just basically sucks. It's a glorified toy. It can't perform basic laptop functions, let alone become a software development platform.

Intel (and the others) are right to drop out ASAP. The program has run its course to a sucky completion, now people are washing their hands of it. It only got as far as it did because of the emotional "think of the children" syndrome.

It would have been a whole lot smarter to send them referbed laptops and something to power them with.

Re:OLPC is an expensive toy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932376)

hello Intel shill?

Negroponte shows what a disgusting commie he is. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21932260)

"It's a little bit like McDonald's competing with the World Food Program." -Nicholas Negroponte referring to Intel's marketing of the Classmate laptop in competition with the OLPC.

The OLPC is a gadget, something like a Palm with a keyboard. Software has to be specially written for it, trapping its users within the services provided by charity and government. It is a potentially useful educational tool, but having one isn't the same as having a PC.

The Classmate is a full-fledged notebook PC which runs standard software. It allows users to participate in the mainstream and explore the full potential of computing.

McDonald's is a fast food company which sells unhealthy, low-quality food. In the comparison, the OLPC is by far the "junk food" of the pair.

This is more like a supermarket offering to sell fresh meat, produce, and other wholesome foods at low prices in a market where a "charity" that distributes bags of white rice (but charges for its full cost!) would prefer for people to have no other options.

I can understand breaking the OLPC/Intel partnership. They are somewhat in competition. However, insults like this show that Negroponte never had a reasonable attitude.

There are interesting parallels to this elsewhere (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21932272)

We have seen where for-profit business opposes people doing for free what they themselves would not do even for profit. Municipal WiFi is a classic and well-known example of this. These companies are not interested in building a WiFi infrastructure in a city because the profits would be to low or the initial investment too high for this to be attractive to them. And yet they will stop at nothing to prevent a city from taking the initiative upon itself to service its citizens.

In lesser-known areas, where state utilities commissions have allowed utilities providers (power and communications) to not develop a region, smaller, independent groups and coops have opted to fill in the need for their own profit and non-profit interests only to face opposition from the very utilities providers that refuse to service the areas themselves.

"The Electric Car" has been stopped and stalled many times by the opposition of big auto makers time and time again.

There are probably many other examples of established big business opposing small business in doing things that they themselves are unwilling or uninterested in doing... any come to mind? An under our "free market capitalist idealism" it's rather hard to imagine why big business would even care? It's because big business isn't interested in "free market capitalism." They want no competition of any kind and they want to charge as much money as they possibly can for their goods and services as possible.

These are really good examples of what big business is truly about. Every time you hear an argument about "free markets" being wielded by big business, I hope you consider what big business is truly all about.

(For example, the free market argument was given by Enron as the reason to remove or reduce government controls over the power industry and following that, every single state that allowed it suffered from ridiculously high power costs and even power shortages and irregularities in quality and delivery. The free market doesn't work EVERYWHERE and isn't the answer to EVERYTHING. And it certainly doesn't apply when there are human _needs_ at the consumer side of the counter. Utilities, food and medical care need heavy regulation to keep the nations of the world healthy and it's precisely the lack of strong enough regulation of the US medical industry is in the 'unaffordable' state it's in and before someone points to the US medical system as being the most advanced in the world, I hold it has nothing to do with the lack of regulation or the possibility of higher profits and everything to do with their exploitation of research done in public learning institutions... research not available to the public itself.)
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