Sunday, 20 July 2008

(Column) - From what I understand, the whole point of OLPC is to create awareness of technology in third world countries and empower the next generation with collaboration and other fun uses of technology and the way it can make an impact in a child’s life. OLPC is a non-profit entity, and I admire its efforts. However, with the recent ongoings between Intel and Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of OLPC, I fail to understand the immature bickering between the two. 

Neither party is going to gain anything by discrediting the other. It’s evident that Negroponte is taking the non-profit approach, while Intel is understandably taking a corporate stance on capturing this emerging "market." Even though both parties have different viewpoints and goals, on a personal level, there’s nothing wrong with it.

Intel being the corporate powerhouse is obviously going after an unproven market in a sadistic effort to beat AMD. Negroponte, on the opposite end, is trying to make a difference in the world, although it doesn’t seem that way.

I can understand Intel’s back-and-forth stance for OLPC. It’s a company stuffed with ironies and typical corporate behavior. Can you blame them? What about Negroponte, though? He appears to be a little too obsessed with the project and his fame with the way he’s lashing out at Intel. It’s evident from the comments he has made how clueless he is about business and the way companies work, especially in a cutthroat industry. Surprisingly enough, Intel is eerily calm about his public outcries.

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Wake up and smell the coffee, guys.

Look, selling the OLPC concept is ridiculously tough as it is to governments that would rather invest in basic necessities (food and clean water) than luxuries (low cost laptops). If you get past that hurdle, more often than not, things are going to halt at price points. With OLPC priced at $100 and Intel’s Classmate at $200, what are Intel’s chances of succeeding? Fairly low, I would venture to guess. As such, I would think that OLPC would have no problem convincing governments to pick them over Intel. Do a presentation on why the original OLPC concept is better than what Intel is offering (if it really is…), and be done with it.

For Negroponte, I’m especially disappointed. Who cares if Intel wins? What matters is that children will get exposed to technology. Isn’t this the goal behind OLPC?

In simpler terms, stop the bickering and get back to work. You should be worrying about making an impact on children’s lives, not who is going to win the OLPC race.

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