Even NextBillion.net has weighed in on the Intel/OLPC divorce and included the full interview with Negroponte, even as Slashdot dredges up last year's "scandal" when some other bloggers found out that Wayan's (former) organization had Intel as a partner, calling OLPCNews an astroturf, Intel-backed anti-OLPC blog. While we're pretty critical of the OLPC project, you'd think that if OLPCNews was indeed Intel-backed; we'd (a) at least be earning money for the time we spend on it instead of it being an unpaid labor of love and (b) we'd be critical of the OLPC hardware. I don't know about you, but I think the hardware is amazing and a very needed step. Further, being an ex-Austinite, I'm very happy to see AMD stepping up to the challenges of low-power developing-world situations, both with the OLPC's processor and their previous 50x15 (50% of the world's population online by 2015) projects, including the good-idea-left-in-the-dust, the AMD PIC. Intel is just now waking up to this market, and their early-morning tossing and turning just happened to slap OLPC in the face.
Like Wayan, I'm pro-competition, and want governments to have a menu of low-cost computing options. I am worried about Intel throwing all its weight in to this arena and really pushing the Classmate, even perhaps as a loss-leader, just to capture the market at this early stage. Intel is enough of a processor-monopoly as it is, and I'd rather see increased innovation rather than a return to the same old.
What will be truly interesting is to see what happens when OLPC's former CTO, Mary Lou Jepsen, starts rolling her laptops, with OLPC-licensed technology, off of the production line at Pixel-Qi, and if she becomes further competition for the OLPC (her target price is $75, so if it follows the OLPC trajectory it'll come in at $150 or so). Will OLPC try to yank her technology licenses or otherwise play mean for fear of competition in the field, or is this a reaction specific to Intel's brand of underhanded competitive methods?