Company in unproven spy chip story moving business out of China

MacStadium Mac mini server racks
Chips were rumored to have found their way into servers used by the likes of Apple.
Photo: Apple

California-based Super Micro Computer is moving server production out of China. The company was last year at the center of a damaging story from Bloomberg.


The article alleged that spy chips had been placed into server motherboards, including those used by Apple, manufactured by Super Micro. Despite the story appearing to be highly dubious, it seems Super Micro is still having to take action.

Super Micro is the world’s third largest server maker after HP and Dell. However, it was hit hard by Bloomberg Businessweek‘s story, “The Big Hack,” published at the start of October 2018. The article made a number of sensational claims.

However, parties involved quickly criticized the article. Many involved, including Apple, claimed the story was false. British and U.S. intelligence agencies said there was no evidence for it. Nor did an internal investigation by the company find anything.

Apple CEO Tim Cook eventually said that Bloomberg “need[s] to do that right thing and retract [the allegations].” This has not yet been done publicly (or, as far as we’re aware, privately.)

Perception is everything

Despite all of this, clients have supposedly asked Super Micro  not to supply them with motherboards made in China. This is as a result of potential security concerns. As a result, the company’s moving its business out of China, and expanding in-house manufacturing. This will take place in Taiwan and Silicon Valley.

Super Micro forecasts a near 10% decline in total revenues for the January through March quarter. As a result, there’s a chance that it could fall behind Amazon as the third largest server maker.

It’s not clear whether Bloomberg ever plans to present additional evidence, or retract its story.

Source: Asia Nikkei