Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/02/06/stolen_formula_torpedos_big_brand/

Stolen formula torpedos big brand mobos

How not to commit commercial espionage

By Drew Cullen

Posted in Channel, 6th February 2003 16:53 GMT

Has your motherboard been playing up lately? If you bought a new mobo or new PC in 2002, it could contain a cowboy part which has caused its failure, or will do so in the future.

Step forward the guilty component, a humble aluminum electrolytic capacitor. But this is not your everyday cock-up, oh no, but the fault of a "a mistake in the stolen formulation of the electrolyte in a capacitor".

Yes corporate espionage is to blame! The specialist newswite Spectrum IEEE, run by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, has uncovered a cracking story of skullduggery and ineptitude.

Here's an extract: "According to the source, a scientist stole the formula for an electrolyte from his employer in Japan and began using it himself at the Chinese branch of a Taiwanese electrolyte manufacturer. He or his colleagues then sold the formula to an electrolyte maker in Taiwan, which began producing it for Taiwanese and possibly other capacitor firms. Unfortunately, the formula as sold was incomplete."

Oh dear.

So who's affected? Over to Spectrum again.

"So far, the only motherboard maker to admit to the problem is ABIT Computer Corp. (Taipei), and the only major PC maker to acknowledge being affected is IBM Corp. But the problem is likely to be more widespread. Indeed, those who have repaired the damaged boards say that they have encountered crippled motherboards from Micro-Star International, ASUSTek Computer, Gigabyte Technology, and others. "

Read the story in full here. ®