Tim Cook is calling for Bloomberg to retract its Chinese spy chip story

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with BuzzFeed News, is calling for Bloomberg to retract its story about Chinese spy chips embedded in the company’s server equipment, “This did not happen. There’s no truth to this.”

“I was involved in our response to this story from the beginning,” Cook said according to Buzzfeed. “I personally talked to the Bloomberg reporters along with Bruce Sewell who was then our general counsel. We were very clear with them that this did not happen, and answered all their questions. … Each time they brought this up to us, the story changed and each time we investigated we found nothing.”

In addition to disputing the report itself, Cook also took issue with the lack of evidence he said Bloomberg supplied to document its claims. Cook said the reporters never provided Apple with any specific details about the malicious chips it is alleged to have found and removed. He added that he thinks the allegations are undergirded by “vague secondhand accounts.”

“We turned the company upside down,” Cook said. “Email searches, data center records, financial records, shipment records. We really forensically whipped through the company to dig very deep and each time we came back to the same conclusion: This did not happen. There’s no truth to this.”

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Cook also said “I feel they [Bloomberg] should retract their story. There is no truth in their story about Apple. They need to do that right thing.”

It’s the latest and strongest of denials from Apple in response to the October story in Bloomberg Businessweek. The news magazine alleged data center hardware used by Apple and Amazon Web Services, and provided by server company Super Micro, was under surveillance by the Chinese government. Practically all the companies named in the report denied Bloomberg’s claim.

“Apple has never found malicious chips in our servers,” Apple said earlier this month in response to the report. “Finally, in response to questions we have received from other news organizations since Businessweek published its story, we are not under any kind of gag order or other confidentiality obligations.”

Bloomberg said the company stands by its story.

“Bloomberg Businessweek’s investigation is the result of more than a year of reporting, during which we conducted more than 100 interviews. Seventeen individual sources, including government officials and insiders at the companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks. We also published three companies’ full statements, as well as a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We stand by our story and are confident in our reporting and sources,” the company said in a statement.

The full interview on Buzzfeed’s site.


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