You are certainly already aware of the Bloomberg about the alleged microchip implanted by a Chinese company in data centers gives Apple, Amazon and about 30 other American companies, which would have the purpose of providing Beijing with a way to spy on US technology companies. The story had a profound impact not only on the IT sector, but also involved sectors of politics and international relations, and ended up in the United States Senate.
Now, Tim Cook in person he went public to comment on the case and to vehemently deny any possibility that Apple was spied on by the Chinese government. The CEO of Maçã even asked that Bloomberg portray yourself for the story – which, incidentally, is an unprecedented attitude in the company: Apple never asked (publicly, at least) for a journalistic vehicle to portray a story about it, even with the most negative stories.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Cook stated:
There is no truth in their report about Apple. They need to do the right thing and publish a retraction.
The CEO said he was involved in Apple’s response to the story from the beginning and was even in touch with reporters at Bloomberg with Bruce Sewell, then legal director of the company, investigating all the information brought by the vehicle’s team and answering all the questions raised by them. “Every time they came to us, the story changed, and every time we investigated and found nothing,” said Cook, who added:
We turned the company upside down. Email searches, records of data centers, the finance department, dispatches. We really apply forensic science when searching the entire company to dig deep and every time we come to the same conclusion: it didn’t happen. There is no truth to that.
Cook regretted that the story was published without evidence to support the information and that the Bloomberg never even showed Apple specific details about the malicious chips that were supposed to have been used to spy on the company. Regarding the possibility that the entire story published by the group happened without his knowledge, the CEO was categorical: “virtually zero”.
One company that validated Cook’s comments was Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cybersecurity specialist and manufacturer of the famous antivirus software. A few days ago, she published a statement questioning the validity of the Bloomberg, bringing to light the loss of market value of Super Micro (the maker of the alleged spy chips) and citing the “vehement denials of Apple and Amazon”; at the end of the day, the Russians said the allegations should be viewed “with a back seat”.
THE Bloomberg, in turn, kept a firm footing on its position. In a statement to the BuzzFeed News, the group stated:
The report of Bloomberg Businessweek it is the result of more than a year of research, during which we conducted more than 100 interviews. 17 individual sources, including government officials and people within companies, confirmed the manipulation of hardware and other elements of the attacks. We also published 3 full company statements, as well as a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. We maintain our position and trust our reporters and sources.
This creates a huge impasse between American companies (including Apple), the US government, China and China. Bloomberg – which, for better or for worse, is one of the most respected journalistic groups in the United States, with very high-ranking sources in the most different spheres of governments and companies in the world. The fact is that, if proven true, the report will have very drastic consequences for everyone involved and for the relationship between the United States and China, which is no longer at its best.
For now, other companies are taking the body out of the situation. THE Bloomberg only cited Apple and Amazon among the 30 companies allegedly spied on, but the BuzzFeed News contacted the executive of another company (not named, but on the list Fortune 50) who may be in the group and got the following answer:
Please leave us out of this. We were not quoted and I don’t want us to be. I don’t know what the fuck is going on here.
In other words … yes, the controversy is huge. And, to be solved, there is only one possibility: that the Bloomberg open your files and disclose your sources, which represents a practice that goes against journalistic ethics – even if it is legally bound to do so. A lot of water will still flow under this bridge, so let’s keep an eye on the next chapters of this story.