May 1, 2006 9:01 PM PDT

Intel to invest $1 billion in emerging markets

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Intel will spend more than $1 billion during the next five years to help bring computers, training and Internet connectivity to emerging nations.

Called the World Ahead program, the effort essentially expands on other programs Intel has conducted to bring computing to countries like India and China, particularly to people who live in small cities and villages. Though India has become a software powerhouse, it's estimated that the country a year ago had only 14 PCs for every 1,000 people.

Intel will provide equipment under the program as well as teacher training.

The program will also let the company lay some of the groundwork for future sales as the markets in these nations mature. Intel, after all, entered China back in the 1980s and was able to capitalize on the growth of the tech industry in that country.

WiMax--the long-range wireless networking standard heavily promoted by Intel--will figure prominently in the program. Overall, Intel is involved in 175 WiMax trials worldwide, a representative said.

PCs, naturally, will also play a big part. The company is currently working on six different PCs that will come out during the next six years tuned for various geographies.

Intel has already come out with a few PCs and software applications tailored for particular geographies. A PC for India unveiled last year, for instance, comes in a sealed case to keep out dust and runs off a car battery, important in a country where blackouts are a daily occurrence. Meanwhile, in China, Intel devised software to let managers of Internet cafes control their PCs easier.

Paul Otellini, the company's CEO, is expected to sketch out the program further in a speech at the World Congress of IT, a biennial event taking place this week in Austin, Texas.

Various companies and academics have put forth plans for bridging the digital divide. The ideas can roughly be broken down into four categories: more-rugged PCs promoted by Intel and Via Technologies; a cell phone that can be hooked into a phone or monitor, promoted by Microsoft; thin clients, touted by companies in India; and inexpensive devices that are similar to PCs. This is the so-called $100 laptop from MIT's Nicholas Negroponte.

See more CNET content tagged:
emerging market, India, Intel, China, training


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Wake up Intel, AMD's Already There...
Where do you think AMD has been getting a lion's share of their market increases? Why don't you take that $10Billion you were going to spend on the Itanium consortium, kill the Itanium product (it's dead already) and spend that.
If you can't listen to your American public when they tell you what they want/need what the heck makes you think you are going to listen to a wider consumer base.
You just continue to listen to your internal engineers and "yes" men.
The best thing Intel can do at this point is to gather up a consortium of Intel "ney sayers" and find out what the group thinks they are doing wrong. Do I have confidence they will do this....Ney.

Fred Dunn
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
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This doesn't fix lousy chips
They can dump money all over the place but that doesn't fix the fact that their chips are not as good as AMD and my never be. Intel and Dell need to wake up.
Posted by IT_Thinker (8 comments )
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