The sole maker of the iPhone's main processor said a number of its fabrication tools had been infected, and while it had contained the problem and resumed some production, several of its factories won't restart till at least Sunday.
"TSMC expects this incident to cause shipment delays and additional costs". But it sees no long-term difficulties.
"Certain factories returned to normal in a short period of time, and we expect the others will return to normal in one day", the company said in its Saturday statement. Data integrity and confidential information was not compromised. 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. TSMC is best known outside of PC enthusiast circles as the iPhone chip manufacturer but many readers here will know it for its key role in the production of advanced performance PC components sold by the likes of AMD, Nvidia and their partners.
The implications are unclear for Apple. It maintained its 2018 forecast of boosting revenue by high single digits in USA dollar terms. August is a big month for manufacturing as we're leading into the holiday season and consumer devices are being made now, but you can't make those new expensive products without chips made by TSMC if you're one of their customers. An Apple spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
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A bellwether for the chip industry as well as an early indicator of iPhone demand, TSMC heads into its busiest quarters grappling with waning enthusiasm for the high-powered chips used to mine digital currencies.
The outbreak occurred during the software installation, and the virus was able to spread once the tool was connected to the company's computer network, TSMC said.
TSMC's chief financial officer Lora Ho told Bloomberg that the chipmaker has been attacked by viruses in the past, but never has malware affected the company's production lines.