21 May 2007 cinamod   » (Master)

I watched the OLPC segment on CBS' 60 Minutes program yesterday. In my mind, Intel are clearly engaging in predatory practices under the guise of benefiting underprivileged children. The net result is that this will harm not only the OLPC project, but the children in the longer-term (unless you expect Intel to perpetually sell these laptops at a significant loss). Here are some comments by EntropyMan @ Digg that highlight the the underlying issues that 60 Minutes (at best) glossed over.

If Intel -- which is not in the business of selling laptops, and is in fact losing money on every laptop sold -- wants to get its processors -- its actual business -- into the hands of the world's kids, all it had to do was offer its CPUs to OLPC at a lower volume price than AMD. It would be in the market with first mover advantage, AMD would be out, and Intel would win this round without breaking any laws.

Instead, it builds a whole new laptop and dumps it at a massive discount below cost wherever OLPC tries to sell theirs. OLPC can't use the heavily discounted Intel CPUs in those, because Intel effectively won't let them.

If I were Intel, I'd be peeved that the (potentially) largest laptop roll-out ever won't be using my chips. But the free-market solution to that is "simple": make better performing, lower wattage chips at a lower price than AMD's Geodes, and make them in bulk. You've shown that you can do that with your high-end chips. You can do it for the low-end market too. Let your products compete on their own merits.

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