Intel parts company with OLPC

Now there’s a surprise! John Markoff of the NYT reports that:

Intel said Thursday that it had chosen to withdraw from the One Laptop Per Child educational computer organization, which it joined in July after years of public squabbling between Intel’s chairman, Craig R. Barrett, and the group’s founder, Nicholas P. Negroponte.

The low-cost laptop, originally priced at $100, has captured the public imagination but also created intense controversy because it was viewed as a potential competitor for both Intel and Microsoft in the developing world.

The machine, which is based on the freely available Linux operating system and comes with educational software, is now built with a microprocessor made by Intel’s archrival, Advanced Micro Devices. The PC, called the XO, is being sold for about $200 apiece to governments and institutions.

On Thursday an Intel spokesman said the company shared with O.L.P.C. the vision of putting computers into the hands of children, but the two were not able to work out what he described as “philosophical” differences.

Intel did not attend a recent board meeting of the group in Florida, according to a person familiar with the events, who asked not to be named because he had not been given authority to describe the events. That set off a bitter private dispute, which led to the Thursday announcement.

“We’ve reached a philosophical impasse,” said Chuck Mulloy, the Intel spokesman. “Negroponte had asked us to exclusively support O.L.P.C.-based platforms.”