There's nothing like allegations of predatory conduct to bring two organizations together.
Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child project has decided to bring Intel on board as a partner and a possible future supplier, just a few months after Negroponte went on 60 Minutes and essentially accused the chip maker of trying to destroy his low-cost PC project. Intel has agreed to join the board of the OLPC and work with the organization on possible "collaborations involving technology and educational content," according to a press release Friday morning.
Negroponte had taken issue with Intel's own efforts on low-cost PCs for emerging nations, saying that "Intel has hurt the mission enormously" on 60 Minutes. Intel's Classmate PC is one of many ideas that various companies and organizations have floated for bringing computing power to areas of the world that have yet to join in the digital age.
Intel, for its part, hasn't pulled punches in its criticism of the OLPC project in the past, calling it "the $100 gadget." Intel Chairman Craig Barrett has led Intel's low-cost PC charge, as well as the criticism of Negroponte and his project.
But, apparently everything is just grand now. "Intel joins the OLPC board as a world leader in technology, helping reach the world's children. Collaboration with Intel means that the maximum number of laptops will reach children," Negroponte said in Friday's release. An e-mail to the OLPC project requesting further comments was not immediately returned.
Collaboration with Intel is also a blow for Advanced Micro Devices, which gleefully jumped on Negroponte's comments back in May. AMD is the current processor supplier for the XO laptop at the heart of the OLPC project.
AMD still has a Web page up on the "Break Free" section of its site--dedicated to promoting its antitrust case against Intel--highlighting the 60 Minutes expose. "The 60 Minutes story exposed efforts by Intel to derail this initiative in countries in Latin America and Africa by selling products below cost and through targeted marketing campaigns," AMD says on the page.
On Friday, however, everyone was friends. "AMD is welcoming Intel's change of heart," a company spokeswoman said.