Posted January 7, 2008 8:51 am by with 5 comments

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Intel announced they are leaving the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child project. OLPC produces low-cost laptops for developing nations. Fighting and differences between the two couldn’t be bridged. It was six months ago Intel and OLPC founder Nick Negroponte announced they would work together to produce the laptops.

Intel has their own PC for school children, called the Classmate PC. They weren’t willing to meet Neogroponte’s request not to sell it. It probably didn’t help things further when Negroponte went on 60 Minutes in May and basically asserted that Intel was undermining the OLPC by selling the Classmate PC below cost. Intel had their own accusations, namely that OLPC wanted Intel not to sell chips to anyone with a similar product.

OLPC was a popular concept but it cost more and took longer than expected. Originally, they hoped to make the laptop $100 but it is double that. To offset costs OLPC temporarily sold to the public, asking people to buy two laptops for $399 and donate one of them. They recently began selling laptops in African, Latin American and other countries.

The laptop is designed to work on less traditional power sources and is energy efficient. It uses a handcrank, pedal or pull-string to produce electricity and can run up to 21 hours without being plugged in.

Negroponte accused Intel of violating its written agreement with the group “on numerous occasions” and said the chip manufacturer “contributed nothing of value” during its six months on the board of the nonprofit group. – MarketWatch

OLPC also just lost their CTO, Mary Lou Jepsen, who quit earlier this week to launch a for-profit company to commercialize the technology she invented. The project doesn’t seem to be going well and the OLPC project stopped selling laptop to consumers at the end of December.

  • Just heard about this yesterday on the radio. I wonder what OLPC is going to do now? I really liked their mission to help educate people around the world, but it’s definitely a testimony to how difficult it is to use technology as a non-profit product.

  • It’s always a shame to see initiatives such as this one not working out. Sadly, some things look better on paper and implementing them proves to be more than tricky.

    Alan Johnson

  • I guess this is an example of capitalism at work. I love the intentions of the OLPC project. When I first learned of the program I thought this was destined for success. This announcement maybe the best thing that happens for them. It may open the door for one of the smaller companies to step up and make a name for themselves.

  • I had heard of the project and really applauded the effort. What a pity it is to be scrapped.

  • Hopefully they can find another company to work with. AMD would seem a likely choice. The goals of the project are good and I think many people would like to see them succeed.