Apple, Nvidia, Qualcomm Delays Possible After TSMC Virus Outbreak

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stdragon

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"TSMC said the virus' spread didn't result from a hack, per se, but rather from human error during the installation of a new tool"

What "tool" would contain malware?? There's definitely more to this story.
 

spdragoo

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And how did the virus get on their internal network without a) causing damage to other systems before this, & b) being noticed/caught by their IT security people?



 

mlee 2500

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There are many software tools involved at many different parts of the process, used by both the foundry and their fabless customers.
 

mlee 2500

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In corporate speak 2 days = a week or more, especially in the semiconductor world, and that is a HUGE deal which causes ripples all the way through the development and release chain.
 

bit_user

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I thought Nvidia was supposedly delaying their next gen launch due to excess inventory of Pascal GPUs. If true, then they should already have the initial launch parts on hand for their first couple of 11-series units.

And Apple? ...pfft. Don't care.
 

mlee 2500

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This whole story made me think about how many fabless companies are enormously dependent on TSMC, even allowing for those that multi-source, they still need TSMC for simple volume and competitive pricing.
 

beayn

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This is usually what happens when people try to get a torrent program or youtube downloader at work. I'm guessing that's what the "tool" was.
 

bit_user

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Just imagine how China could cripple Taiwan and force the world to back off, if they only seized TSMC and maybe a handful of other Taiwanese businesses. When China finally moves on Taiwan, they won't go for government or military targets - it'll be their economy. TSMC is probably the crown jewel.

And, with that one move, imagine the control they'd wield over the entire semiconductor industry. Sure, there's GloFo and Samsung, but it would take them years to ramp up capacity to handle all the business currently going to TSMC. Meanwhile, China would have near leading-edge fabs for all their homegrown chips, at government-subsidized prices.

This casts AMD's Chinese licensing agreements in a whole new light. Could be they're (also) a massive hedge against such a scenario.
 
It's possible that AMD's GPU's will be affected as well. AMD is supposedly splitting production up between TSMC and GloFo. I don't know exactly which products will be made there, but if production was stopped for whatever amount of time, I would think AMD is victim to it as well.

I have a feeling TSMC will tighten their rules on watching porn on company computers. LOL
 

3ogdy

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How could we possibly justify yet more considerable price increases for the next products? Ehm....TSMC got a virus! TSMC got a virus! Yaaay! You consumers will have to paaaay!
Nope. Not buying overpriced bullsh!t because of TSMC's incompetence, so as a consumer I couldn't give a duck if nVidia, AMD etc...started selling (way) overpriced stuff (more than they already are). Too expensive = not buying. End of story.
 

mlee 2500

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Sure, but forcibly taking over Taiwan would make them an international pariah, likely resulting in sanctions (especially from wealthier first-world countries), so now who's buying the products coming off that factory floor? (And that assumes Taiwan doesn't destroy the plants rather then lose them).

Possibly non-Chinese companies that can make silicon elsewhere would probably be the real winners in your scenario.

If you look at Hong Kong and what happened there (and I promise you the Taiwanese do), it turns out that it's more about nationalistic jingoism and communist party power then is it concerned with cooking the proverbial golden goose.
 

bit_user

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Perhaps I wasn't clear, but I imagine it could all happen without a shot being fired. In this day and age, China's reputation would pay a high price for going in with guns blazing.

Anyway, it's an interesting thought experiment... for now. But Chinese nationals are already buying up real estate on the island and Chinese companies are luring Taiwanese grads to the mainland. And there was that weird story, recently, about China sanctioning airlines who refer to Taiwan as anything other than a part of China. It's not hard to see how economic pressure could be continually ramped up and lines blurred.
 

mlee 2500

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I suppose a bloodless takeover is possible but that would be contrary to my (admittedly limited) understanding of Taiwanese sentiment towards the mainland. China has been playing games with how Taiwan is represented on maps ever since the Chinese Nationals absconded to the island (along with a sizable portion of the countries antiquities and treasures) in the late 40's. And demanding airlines play along with the facade is probably the least of their strong-arming tactics, so who knows?

For western, Japanese, and Korean semiconductor companies the detente is significant not only becuase of TSMC's foundries, but because Taiwan currently represents the supposed "safe place" to locate Intellectual Property outside the grasp of China, but still close enough to provide low latency access to Chinese workers doing physical design or mask layout. Even so, we make sure those spinning drives are employing disk level encryption and other schemes in the event that it get's seized in a scenario like you describe!
 

bit_user

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I thought of this discussion when I heard China just announced it concluded engineering plans to build a tunnel between Taiwan and the mainland. Tiawan's response: "uh, no thank you"

I think Chairman Xi would like nothing more than to put this particular feather in his cap.
 

mlee 2500

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Ha! I didn't hear about that. Sounds like a twist on the old Trojan Horse trick: "Here, let us gift you this marvelous tunnel under the ocean that currently separates us...."

But yeah, apparently Xi is actually facing real criticism from within the communist party for the first time in recent memory over how he's handling the tariffs, and I'm worried that might result in a military action against our right-of-navigation exercises over one of their "islands". Or some similar event against Taiwan. It would be a textbook autocratic maneuver to whip up nationalistic support during a time of political crisis for the man in charge.

I actually almost took a three year expat assignment in Shenzhen (just across the bay from Hong Kong) about this time last year, but backed out at the last minute when I realized how much westerners have been smeared in the eyes of the average Chinese by the government run media and propaganda.

I'm especially glad I backed out now in the current climate, since it results in westerners who don't appear Asian getting pretty poor treatment on the street, and the more political tensions heat up, the worse it gets.
 

bit_user

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Xi has little to fear from the Party, after his purges and stacking the politburo. He does need to mind popular sentiment, as the government's legitimacy largely hinges on its economic record. To the extent tariffs bite, he might actually feel compelled to do as you suggest.

Trump might find himself in the same boat, if the imminent rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports actually come into effect (which will surely slam the brakes on the recent US economic expansion). If you recall how Bush's popularity initially benefited from the Iraq war, the up-side of military tensions could hold an irresistible draw for both.
 
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