Apple’s Tim Cook calls for retraction on Chinese spy chip story

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Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook attends China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on March 24, 2018 in Beijing, China. China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 is hosted by the Development Research Center of the State Council of China on March 24-26 in Beijing. 



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Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook attends China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on March 24, 2018 in Beijing, China. China Development Forum (CDF) 2018 is hosted by the Development Research Center of the State Council of China on March 24-26 in Beijing. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling for Bloomberg to retract its story about Chinese spy chips embedded in the company’s server equipment, telling Buzzfeed News in an interview, “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.”

Cook also said Bloomberg should “do that right thing and retract” the story.

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.”

A representative for 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 to CNBC.

Read the full interview on Buzzfeed’s site.

—CNBC’s Kate Fazzini and Todd Haselton contributed to this report.



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