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Tim Cook lambastes Bloomberg for iCloud spy chip report, calls for retraction

Apple CEO Tim Cook has uncharacteristically spoken out about the Bloomberg report that claimed that the Chinese had inserted a spy chip into the company's iCloud server, and is completely denying that Apple was impacted.

"There is no truth in their story about Apple," Cook told BuzzFeed. "They need to do that right thing and retract it."

"I was involved in our response to this story from the beginning," said Cook. "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."

"We turned the company upside down. Email searches, datacenter records, financial records, shipment records," Cook added. "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."

Cook's remarks are surrounding weeks of speculation and denials that Apple had been the victim of a Chinese plot to embed spy chips in iCloud servers. Earlier in October, a Bloomberg report based on extensive investigation claimed that Apple, Amazon, and almost 30 other companies had been the victim of an espionage campaign in which rice-sized chips had been planted on motherboards made by Super Micro. Once delivered, the motherboards supposedly created a backdoor into infrastructure like Apple's iCloud.

Apple was quick to deny allegations, insisting that it had conducted a "massive, granular, and siloed investigation."

Amazon has likewise issued denials.

"There are so many inaccuracies in this article as it relates to Amazon that they're hard to count," Amazon said in its statement, refuting several specific claims, and specifically citing that there was no modified hardware found

Several subsequent accounts have cast further doubt, such as one from the senior advisor for Cybersecurity Strategy to the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, and another denial on Thursday by The U.S. Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Additionally, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security commented that it had "no reason to doubt" the positions of Apple and Amazon.

Bloomberg's response

Bloomberg continues to refute allegations of poor reporting of the matter.

"Bloomberg Businessweek's investigation is the result of more than a year of reporting, during which we conducted more than 100 interviews," a spokesperson told BuzzFeed. "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."

Other questions about the story and details presented in the account posed by BuzzFeed were rebuffed by the publication.

BuzzFeed also claims that "according to numerous spokespeople and executives in positions to know about internal investigations," Google, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Dell, Palantir, Hewlett Packard, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Twitter, Palantir, T-Mobile, Goldman Sachs, and Capital One were not in the group of 30 companies that Bloomberg alleges were attacked.