Walter Bender, who was the former President of Software and Content for the OLPC project, has stepped down from his post and left the company. The reasons may be obvious, depending on your perspective. Bender apparently has a disagreement with Nicholas Negroponte, the pioneer of the project itself, about the future of the OLPC and their future partnerships.

On the Negroponte side, there are rumors of him seeking to craft a partnership with Microsoft and trying to mass-sell the OLPC with Windows XP installed, as opposed to the Linux base it was promised and launched with. Bender, on the other hand, feels that doing such would directly violate their original goal, which was to create a “life-long exploration” tool that was designed to use open technologies. His resignation happened a week ago, and he has since released a statement concerning his departure. The implications and reasons for his leaving may have serious impact on how people view the OLPC project in the future. Could the OLPC eventually become nothing more than your run of the mill low cost laptop?