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OLPC czar shames Intel into board seat

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You can usually gauge how thrilled Intel is with a given announcement by examining the length of its associated news release. Today, we find Intel joining the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program and managing a grand total of five paragraphs to tout the achievement.

That's about, say, seven or eight fewer paragraphs than you might see for a minor Itanium processor speed bump and about ten paragraphs fewer than you'd see for some namby-pamby green computing announcement.

Intel's reluctance to celebrate OLPC - the poor man's laptop effort fronted by Nicholas Negroponte - is understandable. The company has its own Classmate product aimed at the malcomputerized portions of the Third World. In addition, Negroponte - who picked an AMD chip for the OLPC devices - has run around bad-mouthing Intel on shows such as 60 Minutes.

Intel should be "ashamed of itself," Negroponte told the septuagenarian-driven news organ.

But Negroponte's furor only lasted a short while: He's given Intel an OLPC board seat. Intel's presence on the board will apparently help it and OLPC work on the "synergy of their respective programs."

It's great that Negroponte was able to browbeat Intel into joining OLPC through negative press. His priorities are clearly in the right place.

With Intel's help, more children may soon receive the embarrassing OLPC system, so that they can watch dogs, that they'd rather be eating, skateboard on YouTube.

Anyone who has seen both the OLPC and Classmate designs will give the technology edge to Intel. After many years, Intel, and other computing giants, appear primed to get their grubby hands on the world's poor, making sure their market expansion can continue. We're quite positive that Intel will outclass and outsell anything Negroponte comes up with, but it's nice to see Intel save face in the meantime. ®

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