Cook told Buzzfeed News in a phone interview: "There is no truth in their story about Apple. They need to do that right thing and retract it."
Apple issued a detailed denial when the story was published. Later, its former general counsel, Bruce Sewell, said that the FBI had told him it had told him it had no knowledge of any probe into such an incident, as claimed by Bloomberg.
And the company took the additional step of writing to the US Congress denying the story. Chief security officer George Stathakopoulos said in a letter that the company had found no evidence to justify the claims made in the Bloomberg report.
The Bloomberg MO appears to be take something which has a kernel of truth (eg ICS security concerns), find senior administration officials who don’t have any idea what is happening, use them as sources, create a narrative, then ask experts to provide generic commentary to support— Kevin Beaumont (@GossiTheDog) October 19, 2018
The news agency said that major banks were also using servers made by Supermicro and that the government investigation led to several companies getting rid of the Supermicro equipment.
A few years ago, the same Bloomberg journalists, Jordan Robertson and Michael Riley, wrote a story, claiming that the US Government had prior knowledge of the Heartbleed bug, a serious vulnerability in OpenSSL, before it was announced. Bloomberg did not issue a follow-up after the story was denied.
Cook said: “I was involved in our response to this story from the beginning. 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.”
He said the likelihood of an incident like the one Bloomberg claimed could happen without him knowing about it, he said the odds of that were more or less zero.
“We turned the company upside down. Email searches, data centre records, financial records, shipment records. 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.”
Bloomberg told Buzzfeed that it stood by its story.