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Fighting a Flood of Counterfeit Tech Products

Mar 03, 2010, 15:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rachael King)

"Edward Dimmler dips a cotton swab in acetone and rubs it on the surface of a computer chip that was ostensibly manufactured by Samsung. The white tip turns black—the first clue that the part may be fake. Dimmler, director of warehouse operations at electronics distributor PCX, then inspects the chip under a microscope and sees the word Samsung smeared across the top of the chip. Clearly, this memory chip is counterfeit, ineligible for resale. Dimmler quarantines it in the bowels of his warehouse on one of the shelves painted red to denote knockoffs of well-known brands, including Intel (INTC), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and NEC. "We now have to question everything," he says in an interview at PCX headquarters in Huntington Beach, Calif. "A part is considered suspect until we prove otherwise."

"In the past five years, counterfeit computer chips, routers, and other electronic products have "become an epidemic," says PCX Chief Executive Gil Aouizerat. The number of counterfeit electronic products uncovered in the defense industry alone more than doubled in 2008 to 9,356, from 3,868 in 2005, according to a January 2010 report by the Commerce Dept. Fake gear costs the information technology industry an estimated $100 billion a year, according to the National Electronics Distributors Assn"

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