Published: Mon, August 06, 2018
Tech | By

Unknown computer virus halts Apple's next iPhone chip manufacturing plant

Unknown computer virus halts Apple's next iPhone chip manufacturing plant

The virus struck late on Friday night and led to the closure of several TSMC factories, and some of these are still not operational. As of right now, TSMC has not stated whether this virus was a form of ransomware or something else, so details are scarce. Meanwhile, several operations have been resumed, others would not be active until Sunday.

TSMC, short for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, is the main manufacturer of processors for Apple's (AAPL) iPhones and iPads.

Chief Executive Officer C.C. Wei had said TSMC's sales will rise this year by a high single-digit percentage in United States dollar terms, down from an already reduced projection of about 10 per cent. The chipmaker estimated that third-quarter revenue would be cut by about 3 percent from a previously forecast $8.45 billion to $8.55 billion, while gross margin would slip by about 1 percentage point.

During a phone call with Bloomberg, a TSMC representative acknowledged that the company had been hit by viruses before, but never one quite this bad.

TSMC is working on solutions now but said the degree of infection varied from factory to factory, and that it will provide more information on Monday (Aug 6) after it has assessed the situation. But it's confident it will get that back in the fourth quarter.

"TSMC has been attacked by viruses before, but this is the first time a virus attack has affected our production lines", the company is quoted as saying. The company is now the sole producer of the processors that power Apple's iPhones and it was in the midst of ramping up for the launch of the company's latest smartphones. It's also the world's largest maker of made-to-order chips, which involves manufacturing products designed by companies like Qualcomm (QCOM) and Nvidia (NVDA). While TSMC has not indicated which customers could be affected, such a virus could potentially slow Apple's output of new devices, cutting into the number of units sold.

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