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Negroponte vs Intel 283

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the in-this-corner dept.
Yogi_Stewart_4 writes "More OLPC/Intel love — apparently Intel used 'underhanded' tactics to try to block sales' contracts of the OLPC, trying to reach the customer directly after an agreement had been reached. "They would go in even after we had signed contracts and try to persuade government officials to scrap their contract and sign a contract with them instead. That's not a partnership." Mr Negroponte cited an example in Peru where Intel sales staff tried to persuade the country's vice-minister of education, Oscar Becerra Tresierra, to buy the Intel Classmate PC."
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Negroponte vs Intel

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  • by JeepFanatic (993244) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @10:46AM (#21968270)
    What I want to know is ... is there a hidden 3rd party pushing Intel *cough*Microsoft*cough*? Intel's device is available with Windows XP. I wouldn't at all be surprised to find out that our "friends" in Redmond are responsible for this in order to get their software into the emerging world instead of Linux.
    • Who cares? I thought this project was to get educational tools into the hands of people who couldn't otherwise afford it, not a platform from which to push a social IT philosophy.
    • by FatSean (18753)
      My current system is an old AMD dual system, and with the way Intel is acting on the world stage, I'm sticking with AMD for my next system.

      • by presearch (214913) * on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:13AM (#21968594)
        These days, AMD is running as a non-profit corporation, so you should like them twice as much.
        • by Svartalf (2997)
          It's not that they're non-profit (You're being sarcastic...and it's not working very well.) it's that they're working at doing the "right things" overall. OLPC. Opening the specs on their chips and specifically designing future designs so that in spite of things like DRM still being an issue in the world for some time yet, they can pretty much support Linux and *BSD, plus anything that follows them, without impacting anything but the DRM pieces.

          I'd call that a plus.

          As it stands, the only reason I bought s
      • I'm sticking with AMD for my next system.

        If AMD continues to do business the way they do now, there will be nothing to stick with.

    • What I want to know is ... is there a hidden 3rd party pushing Intel *cough*Microsoft*cough*?

      Why does Microsoft have to be the evil boogeyman lurking in the shadows behind every other company that does something nasty?

      Can't we accept that Intel, SCO, et al are more than capable of having their own rotten agendas?
      • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:26AM (#21968818) Homepage
        Because Microsoft *IS* the evil boogeyman lurking in the shadows, etc, etc...

        The connections in this and other cases are pretty obvious for even the lay person to see. Further, it has been demonstrated that Microsoft knows no shame nor boundaries in their efforts to buy, push or influence governments and other businesses to do their bidding.

        If you've got a dog that has been historically pooping on your carpet and you come home today and find poop on your carpet, you're going to look for the dog!
        • Hells yeah. If there's a noble way and a crooked way for MS to achieve the same goal, MS will choose the crooked way - every time.
          To be fairh though Intel can be pretty evil all by itself, so it doesn't really need the patronage of Microsoft.
        • The connections [to Microsoft] in this and other cases are pretty obvious for even the lay person to see.
          I don't know, are you sure that isn't just a little bit paranoid? Look, Intel could have used a Linux or BSD based OS, but would that have been much better? It's still Intel using their weight to push people around. I'm not so sure M$ has much to do with this other than they are Intel's prefered OS...
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Because we are sure they did use the same tactic already on a market where the Classmate is sold with Linux:
        http://blog.mandriva.com/2007/10/31/an-open-letter-to-steve-ballmer/ [mandriva.com]

        Can't we accept that maybe the wintel evil couple still exist?
      • by fwarren (579763)
        Can't we accept that Intel, SCO, et al are more than capable of having their own rotten agendas?

        As past performance has indicated. It would be foolish to just automatically write off Microsoft as NOT being involved.

        SCO did not have money to follow through on their "case". And in comes Microsoft buying a 10 million dollar license. Then Microsoft went to Baystar of Canada and told them that SCO was a good investment and they would back them if they invested 50 million.

        These other companies may be evil.

    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:29AM (#21968870) Homepage
      What I want to know is ... is there a hidden 3rd party pushing Intel *cough*Microsoft*cough*? Intel's device is available with Windows XP. I wouldn't at all be surprised to find out that our "friends" in Redmond are responsible for this in order to get their software into the emerging world instead of Linux.

      I think it's more along the lines that the entire portable industry has ignored the "subnotebook" market that the OLPC project has shown to be extremely viable, and are now trying en mass to jockey for position.

      They supported Negroponte just far enough to basically test the waters, making sure there really WAS a market, then once the "useful idiot" outlived his usefulness, well, out come the daggers.

      That's what innovation means nowadays in the computer industry: Wait for someone else to do something interesting, then steal the idea and market it faster than he/she can. I hope Negroponte's project survives this nonsense.
    • by Epi-man (59145)

      What I want to know is ... is there a hidden 3rd party pushing Intel *cough*Microsoft*cough*?


      Highly unlikely, Intel has no love for Microsoft (despite their symbiotic relationship) and views them as a potential threat (Microsoft will help AMD just as quickly as Intel if it means more sales).
  • by pembo13 (770295)
    I take it that since the rights and free will of the citizenry aren't at stake no one finds it necessary to think of the children, only the profits. But good luck with that, Intel may be a company, but last I checked they actual human beings are the ones making these decisions and going ahead and acting them out. So bravo, another +mark for humanity.
  • by tbannist (230135) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @10:58AM (#21968422)
    It doesn't matter how badly Intel wanted to sell their more expensive, less functional copy of the OLPC laptop. It is simply unethical to use insider information to quash a deal and sign a separate one yourself with a client.

    This is a big black mark against Intel and should serve as a warning to future partners that they can't be trusted at all. I mean you can't get much worse publicity than "deliberately sabotaged a charitable organization". Maybe the CEO of Intel would like follow it up by kicking puppies and eating babies?
    • by Quarters (18322) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:06AM (#21968500)
      If he ate babies there wouldn't be a market for his Classmate PC.
    • Wait, so I can only assume you have some sort of tape or video or documentation that proves this is what happened? You don't? Oh, I guess you're just making up a scenario then going all over righteous over said made-up scenario's ass.
    • It is simply unethical to use insider information to quash a deal and sign a separate one yourself with a client.

      Insider information? OLPC is a non-profit whose processes are open to examination. Much of their technology is Open Source and the product of public institutions. And the production costs / pricing structure are as well publicly known, as are the target customers. What "insider information" where you talking about?

      And, since you bring up the "intellectual property" issue, if "intellectual pr

  • Intel and MS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:05AM (#21968494) Homepage

    I don't think MSFT is the driver, more of a means to an end for Intel. Their interests are aligned at some level but mainly Intel wants to sell chips. I'm guessing they don't care which OS runs as long as they can keep a finger in the emerging market pie.

    MS and Intel have common goals, but that could change.

    What's more interesting is the callous, self-serving manner Intel is undermining a project trying to help people. It's pathetic. Lacking in even basic decency. You can claim corporations exist only for profit but it hasn't always been that way. It's a fairly recent development that we have have, at least corporately, started to turn into the Ferengi. And there are limits. When you start undermining humanitarian projects in order to protect your market position, you're over that line.

    Maybe Negroponte should just pull off the gloves and make a deal with Wal-Mart and Costco to carry OLPC's. Use the profits to donate machines to developing nations. Or use the profits to cut schools in this country a big discount. If Intel and MS want a war, give them a war.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by milamber3 (173273)
      That can't be the complete story because they were about to unveil a new intel version of the OLPC's XO at CES. This would have led to more chip sales and yet they chose to sabotage their partners and ruin the chance to have intel chips sold with the OLPC campaign. This really sucks, I was considering an intel chip for my next computer as they have definitely outpaced AMD, but now I need to consider whether I want to do business with such a company. Maybe a few less instructions per cycle is worth it to
    • I don't think MSFT is the driver

      Hook 'em while they're young.
      They want to piggyback on educational programs to indoctrinate children into their monopoly.
  • Go Apple! (Score:5, Funny)

    by PHPfanboy (841183) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:12AM (#21968588)
    Disgusting behaviour like this by Intel is why I'll never use Wintel and only buy Apple
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      I too want to help to world's poor people. That's why I would never buy software made by Bill Gates.
  • by verin (74429) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:14AM (#21968624)
    From Intel's website:
            Corporate Mailing Address
            2200 Mission College Blvd.
            Santa Clara, CA 95054-1549
            USA
            (408) 765-8080

    A phone call or a snail mail letter will go a long way toward letting Intel know it crossed the line.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:16AM (#21968650)
    Most large companies have a set of explicitly stated business rules that employees are expected to follow or face disciplinary action. Typically, employees are expected to periodically read and review these rules, and certify that they have done so and will follow them. Sometimes, these rules include explicit prohibitions against trying to sell when the potential customer has already placed a legally-enforceable order with a competitor. The rationale is simple, the order is a contract. You shouldn't encourage anybody to break a contract, because you would be encouraging them to break the law. Apparently, Intel's senior management apparently hasn't seen the need to set the bar that high for their employees. That's too bad and a black mark against Intel for sure. Just another reason to keep buying AMD.

    Negroponte has a right to be upset. Intel shouldn't have been doing this against ANY competitor, must less one that they were cooperating with.
    • You have no evidence whatsoever that this is the case. Based on a nebulous complaint from Negropante you're asserting that they did something wrong here, when in fact you have absolutely no idea what really happened.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ppanon (16583)
        Negroponte doesn't have a history of anti-competitive practices but Intel does. As a result, I'm willing to give Negroponte the benefit of the doubt. It's a smart move to make business decisions based on a potential business partner's history; banks and insurance companies do it all the time.
        Customers of companies like WalMart and Intel don't do it anywhere near enough.
  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:26AM (#21968816) Homepage
    IF targeting the 3rd world, the classmate sucks:

    a) There are cooling holes on it! Hello dirt and debris.

    b) The keyboard is non ruggedized, at least compared to the XO.

    c) It uses a conventional montior arrangement rather than the OLPC "behind the monitor" arrangement. This means that it has a complex, wire heavy connector through the hinge rather than just a USB and power connection.

    I don't see how the classmate could last 6 months in a third world environment.

    I question some of the OLPC's intent, but their hardware design blows away that Intel POS its not even funny.
    • Good God. You certainly drank the kool-aid, didn't you. You have some romaticized view of little kids in dirt huts using these things, and taking them down with them to the river to bathe and possibly bring back some water with them. Tell me, in this little fantasy of yours have the "natives" invented the wheel yet?

      Don't be ridiculous. If you put the XO in the "dirt" on any kind of regular basis it's going to break too. They're not giving them out to native tribes in South America or Africa, and if t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nweaver (113078)
        I hardly say I've drunk the OLPC cool-aid. I think it will be a failure, and the current software is a disaster.

        But the hardware design really is vastly better. The hardware on the XO is brilliant. You could make a "big keyboard" version and sell it as is to the military for $2000 a copy, its that rugged.

        Just some of the weaknesses of the Classmate's design in comparison (beyond the 50% higher price tag):

        a: Cooling openings are a weakness and unnecessary in a device which should be passively cooled. (Du
  • How is that of all the other OLPC partner companies, Intel is the only one that just couldn't resist but to pull a fast one? I have a thick skin usually when it comes to corporations' behaviour, but NOT when it's detrimental to a charity. fsck intel
  • by pez (54) * on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:30AM (#21968880) Homepage Journal
    I wanted to like the OLPC -- no I wanted to *love* the OLPC. I wanted to love it so much that I wanted to tell the world how awesome it was, and how everyone should participate in the give one get one program.

    Then mine arrived in the mail.

    Initial reactions were off the charts. The packaging was even excellent! The machine is sturdy, well-built, solid, cleverly designed, rugged, and absolutely perfect for it's purpose. I can't say enough about how many of the design decisions were fantastic. The keyboard was perhaps smaller than I had anticipated, but with the intended use case scenarios even that didn't detract from the brilliance of the hardware.

    And then I turned it on.

    Anyone who says that the interface is revolutionary or different is trying to put a nice spin on it. Yes, some of the organization and terminology is novel, and one could even praise some of the attempts at getting you to re-think how computers work. But the entire thing feels astonishingly like X Windows from the late 1980s. The interfaces are clunky and inconsistent, and worst of all it suffers from a pervasive design philosophy of "because we could" not "because we should." I could easily forgive a lack of graphical polish, but it's much more difficult to forgive the nearly-20-year giant leap backwards in interface design.

    I know what the slashdot crowd is thinking... "it's open source! Write a new UI yourself!" but that's not the point. My point is that I wish the OLPC project had spent half the effort on the software that they did on the hardware -- if they had, then maybe we really would have a device that would change the world. Who knows... maybe a version 2 will have a new UI that actually will.
    • You're not a kid in a developing country who might have never used a computer before. The machine has to be tactile, simple and responsive. Minimal eye candy to confuse, minimum text to aid understanding in as many languages as possible. You've seen it all, Jorge in Uruguay hasn't.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dpbsmith (263124)
        Regrettably, I agree with the original poster.

        It may not matter. The Sugar UI is an adequate application (sorry, "activity") launcher and the applications themselves are individually good.

        There were many valid reasons for building a completely new UI from the ground up, and many of the unfamiliar and "different" ways of doing things are the result of an attempt to meet different needs, and originality.

        Still, the implementation is currently a mess and simply does not achieve the visions articulated in the st
    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @12:43PM (#21970002) Homepage Journal

      The interfaces are clunky and inconsistent
      Well, that's gonna prepare the kids for the sad reality of life, then! ;-)
    • Poor Documentation (Score:5, Informative)

      by ISoldat53 (977164) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @01:49PM (#21971034)
      I agree. The support wiki is full of holes but it seems to be getting filled out. The great advantage I see in the buy-one-give-one program was to get it in the hands of people in the FOSS community that can find such weaknesses and fix them. We can support OLPC by developing applications and providing input to the project.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Skjellifetti (561341)
      I bought one for my seven year old daughter. She loves it and by the end of the 1st day, she was showing me things like keyboard shortcuts that she had discovered. She has now started using the simpler programming tools (turtle and etoys). I'd say that the OLPC folks provided exactly what their target market needed.
  • by sirwired (27582) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @11:32AM (#21968898)
    At the company I work for, the Code of Conduct we are required to review every year has an explicit prohibition against this sort of thing. The section is actually entitled "Selling Against a Signed Order". The code isn't that long, so the fact that there is a special section for this one situation shows how important it is.

    If I were to try and sell against a signed order, I would be fired. Immediately. With no chance of appeal.

    Encouraging a customer to break a signed contract could get both the customer and my company sued by the competitor for contract interference, and rightly so.

    SirWired
  • http://www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/bios/grove/paranoid.htm [intel.com] with 'only the paranoid survive'. Hey, those bleeding-heart commies have taken business that is rightfully OURS, that means war.

    I'm fighting back this year by buying more and more from employee-owned (John Lewis, I'm from the UK) organisations, cooperatives (Telephone Coop, local credit union), mutuals (Royal London) and anything else that doesn't have shareholders and then lastly for-profits with a verifiable social agenda and a record of honou
  • The OLPC idea needs perhaps 5 or 10 years to mature, in my opinion. After that, when every country in the world realizes how much computers help grow social strength, the market will be far larger and well-defined, and commercial efforts will be very welcome.

    The OLPC idea is founded on these understandings: 1) That students will be far more interested in school if they have a way of accessing the world's information, especially where books are not easily available. 2) That students can teach themselves.
  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @12:11PM (#21969504) Journal
    Before you go on the whole competition is good for laptops speech, remember that OLPC is not a laptop project, it is an education project.

    The idea is to improve education in poorer countries, and the laptops are a means to an end, not an end in themselves. Intel's laptop sabotages the OLPC goal because it is a laptop project, not an education project. Remember that the OLPC comes with education based software and even has a "show me the code" button not to mention a screen which is very suitable for reading electronic books. They are carefully designed for education. Intel's laptops aren't. Therefore, competing with OLPC sabotages the goal of better education for poorer people.

    Oh, and just to cover the other point, no, you can't eat a laptop, but that's not their purpose: they are not disaster relief tools either, they're education tools.
  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @12:12PM (#21969526) Homepage
    "Intel has invested a billion dollars over the last 10 years alone in education around the world," said Mr Otellini.[Head of Intel]

    Very telling indeed, but not in the way he intends it. He's basically saying they have high stakes in this market and, being a corporation, they expect a return on this investment.

    He's basically giving away the motive for Intel to do such rotten things to the OLPC project.
  • Move on. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @12:37PM (#21969882)

    Negroponte would do well to put the Intel relationship behind him. This is turning into a "he said v. they said" argument.

    Of course, Negroponte could use these tactics to generate more buzz for OLPC at Intel's expense (regardless if it is actually true).

    I'm not saying which side is right. I am saying Negroponte needs to move on... Jesus, how many more of these OLPC v Intel stories do there need to be?

  • I admire him for trying to bring computing to poor third world kids, even if a competitor eventually succeeds. He created this market, while big-assed companies ignored it until Nick showed it might be possible.

    More practically, Al Gore probably used up the American & techie "peace prize quota" for five years. And the Bill Gates Foundation is ahead of Nick in this queue. Plus Nick's brother is considered an assh*l* by many Europeans for his lapdog service to George Bush (UN ambassador, Rice undersec
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @03:45PM (#21972946)
    Intel is no different than Microsoft, does anyone remember Zylog? Intel will do to chip makers what Microsoft will do to software makers.

    I can't say AMD is more ethical, but it is at least a counterpoint to the Intel near monopoly of P.C. CPUs.

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