Tag Archives: Hardware

The Tech Monopolies Go Vertical, from Mule’s Musings

The big software and internet tech monopolies are developing their own hardware to further extend their dominance. From Mule’s Musings at mule.substack.com:

Everyone loves to talk about tech monopolies. Their acquisition spree and obvious market power in a world with no distribution cost is likely better discussed in the DOJ recommendation or at the venerable Ben Thompson’s Stratechery. Instead, I want to talk about some good ole fashioned monopolizing. And that’s vertical integration via going down the technology stack into hardware. I want to discuss why now, why does it matter, and how is each of the large platforms positioned.

Moore’s Void

The phrase “Owe the bank 500 dollars, that is your problem. Owe the bank 500 million – that is the bank’s problem.” is something that comes to mind for some of the tech monopolies right now. There is a shifting relationship between the largest software companies in the world and their suppliers, and as the leading software companies have become ever-larger portions of the compute pie, it’s kind of become the problem of the tech companies, and not the semiconductor companies that service them to push forward the natural limits of hardware. Software ate the world so completely that now the large tech companies have to deal with the actual hardware that underlies their stack. Especially as some companies like Intel have fallen behind.

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New Evidence of Hacked Supermicro Hardware Found in U.S. Telecom, by Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley

Bloomberg reported last week that Amazon, Apple, and other companies had installed hardware from Super Micro Computing Inc. that had tiny spy chips built in during assembly in China. Amazon and Apple denied they had done so. However, a new story from Bloomberg adds additional detail and supporting evidence. From Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley at bloomberg.com:

A major U.S. telecommunications company discovered manipulated hardware from Super Micro Computer Inc. in its network and removed it in August, fresh evidence of tampering in China of critical technology components bound for the U.S., according to a security expert working for the telecom company.

The security expert, Yossi Appleboum, provided documents, analysis and other evidence of the discovery following the publication of an investigative report in Bloomberg Businessweek that detailed how China’s intelligence services had ordered subcontractors to plant malicious chips in Supermicro server motherboards over a two-year period ending in 2015.

Yossi Appleboum
Source: Yossi Appleboum

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