Intel chairman Craig Barrett initially derided the One-Laptop-Per-Child campaign's $100 'XO' as, and I quote, a “gadget” and the entire corporation has been fiercely at odds with the project, even producing a rival in the Classmate. So it may come as some surprise to many that Intel has suddenly made a complete turnabout and decided to support the XO alongside its own Classmate.
While the motives for this sudden shift in stance may be unclear, we can at least be sure that the One-Laptop-Per-Child campaign will undoubtedly benefit from Intel joining the non-profit scheme. At first Intel silicon will be powering the servers that are required to support the XO in operation but Intel does wish to expand its contribution to the hardware powering project.
Despite the current undisputed superiority of Intel's processor line-up over that of AMD, there are no plans to change the processor powering the XO, at least in the immediate future. Although Intel’s Director of Corporate Affairs, William Swope, did state “We're going to go compete for the XO business, because we think we build first-class silicon” indicating that there may well be more than purely philanthropic reasons for Intel's participation in the scheme.
Of course the other benefit that this co-operation brings to both Intel’s Classmate and the XO is interoperability. Schools in developing countries can now order a mix of the two different machines depending on requirements and be confident that software developed to run on either one of the underpowered (comparative to our usual standards) machines will also run on the other.