Author Topic: FTDIgate 2.0?  (Read 247641 times)

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Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #575 on: February 06, 2016, 10:48:12 pm »

The power of the vocal minority.

So on the one hand the argument is that the cloners are causing them real harm but then you claim that it is only a small minority being impacted.

Whatever the case,  it is a real issue for them and it is impacting their business - otherwise they would not be doing this. 

The bottom line is their brand is being tarnished - not by the cloners but by their own actions.

Dave has a significant audience - the fact that he has pointed this out and they felt the need to ban him on Twitter - also demonstrates that it is a significant issue for them. And it's not just EEVBlog. There has been similar sentiment on Hack a Day and other forums. These forums are not just used by hobbyists.
 

Offline onlooker

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #576 on: February 06, 2016, 11:31:31 pm »
Quote
LOL, they will laugh? I doubt even 1% of their sales are ultimately for hobbyist and even small business selling to hobbyist. And no one that I have spoken to that deals with FTDI orders in 5 figures has batted an eye at this issue, because, again, trusted supply chains at trusted for a reason.

There are some other similar arguments throughout the threads. Other the other hand, as already mentioned, hobbyists are price sensitive; without clones they are not likely to adapt real FTDI. 

It seems all these boil down to imply clones did not and will not really have impact to the sales of real FTDI in the past, now or in the future. Then, why FTDI is bothered to fight clones? It does not make too much business sense or logical sense?
 

Offline Someone

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #577 on: February 06, 2016, 11:44:43 pm »
Quote
LOL, they will laugh? I doubt even 1% of their sales are ultimately for hobbyist and even small business selling to hobbyist. And no one that I have spoken to that deals with FTDI orders in 5 figures has batted an eye at this issue, because, again, trusted supply chains at trusted for a reason.

There are some other similar arguments throughout the threads. Other the other hand, as already mentioned, hobbyists are price sensitive; without clones they are not likely to adapt real FTDI. 

It seems all these boil down to imply clones did not and will not really have impact to the sales of real FTDI in the past, now or in the future. Then, why FTDI is bothered to fight clones? It does not make too much business sense or logical sense?
Nip it in the bud, with trademarks you need to show that you were actively defending it, and here they continue sending out clear messages that they will not support clones on their drivers. Ignore it and the clones become a viable option, but while their reliability is poor buyers wont want to risk it.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #578 on: February 06, 2016, 11:49:35 pm »
Dont use a suspect channel, its not hard. Digikey and Mouser will happily sell you USB-uart modules and cables.

So your answer is to buy from the most expensive place possible? 

If that is FTDIs answer then once again - it would demonstrate their incompetence and complete disregard for their customers since very few would do that. Why would anyone do that when there are numerous - perfectly functional alternatives available that use other manufacturers chips for much lower prices?
Free market, so if you like the alternatives so much buy them instead and stop complaining, if you want authentic FTDI parts you need to buy through their channels not your arbitrary choice of lowest cost supplier.
The problem is that in every supply chain there is a been counter which thinks he/she is smarter than the rest and buys parts from a shady source to save a few pennies. How do you think those Nigerians scam even very smart people into giving them their money?
Nigerian scams? what does that have to do with anything? If your buyers are taking off-channel parts where compatibility is important then you've got a problem with your buyers, serious companies setup a real supply chain with assurances of supply, delivery, support, lifespan, price, and authenticity. Serial and batch numbers are traceable back to the manufacturer so its quick to confirm the chain if you have any worries.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #579 on: February 06, 2016, 11:55:21 pm »
Nip it in the bud, with trademarks you need to show that you were actively defending it,
Absolutely - but the question is how to best do it?

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and here they continue sending out clear messages that they will not support clones on their drivers.
And the message that they don't care about the end users or the small manufacturers.

 
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but while their reliability is poor buyers wont want to risk it.
Exactly - and since buyers in most cases have no reasonable way be sure they are not getting clones - and have viable alternatives- they will choose to avoid FTDI products to avoid that risk.

Not a good business strategy IMO.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #580 on: February 06, 2016, 11:56:21 pm »
@Someone:
People are people and there will be always one who -despite all the rules and regulations set forth in the procurement department- will be gullible to buy a batch of shady devices because the price is very cheap or they are in dire need for the parts which makes them look good to the bosses. There is no reason to be naive about that.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #581 on: February 07, 2016, 12:13:22 am »
Quote
It seems all these boil down to imply clones did not and will not really have impact to the sales of real FTDI in the past, now or in the future. Then, why FTDI is bothered to fight clones? It does not make too much business sense or logical sense?

I can think a few. For example, reputational risk: what if some clones didn't quite work right and as a result, tragedy follows. FTDI's name shows up in the press ....

Also, the original observations are subject to "selection bias": the fact that there exist FTDI buyers who aren't price sensitive does not mean that FTDI has not lost (substantial) sales to the cloners.

End of the day, this boils down to property rights: is FTDI obligated to support clones? I think most reasonable people can agree to that.
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Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #582 on: February 07, 2016, 12:16:00 am »
buyers in most cases have no reasonable way be sure they are not getting clones

Sure they do.  Stop spending a dollar on a board from china with a BOM cost 5x that high (which SHOULD be a clear indicator that you're buying a fake, but people are apparently idiots), and instead buy from legitimate sources.  If you're interested in buying genuine parts, the first thing you need to do is stop shopping on eBay/Ali and from cheap 3rd party resellers on Amazon.  The second you do that, you'll find that the number of fakes you inadvertently purchase falls essentially to zero.  Some can still make their way into legitimate distribution channels, but if that happens you contact the distributor so they can investigate it.

If you don't want to spend the money for a real FTDI product, then don't be pissed off when your counterfeit goes tits up.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 12:18:24 am by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #583 on: February 07, 2016, 12:21:02 am »
Stop spending a dollar on a board from china with a BOM cost 5x that high (which SHOULD be a clear indicator that you're buying a fake, but people are apparently idiots), and instead buy from legitimate sources.

Under some cases, you can get genuine parts for under its MSRP in Shenzhen, even at 1pcs.
Namely, LT and Altera, their parts on Taobao or AliExpress are almost guaranteed to be genuine (except for some jellybean parts and LTZ1000), and guaranteed to be cheaper. For Altera, it can be 75% off MSRP.
Some parts carry a lot of added value from distributors, such as DSP and FPGA chips.
There is always a chance that people can get chips bypassing distributors, so the price will only be a tiny bit of margin plus the price out of the fab.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #584 on: February 07, 2016, 12:30:15 am »
buyers in most cases have no reasonable way be sure they are not getting clones

Sure they do.  Stop spending a dollar on a board from china with a BOM cost 5x that high (which SHOULD be a clear indicator that you're buying a fake, but people are apparently idiots), and instead buy from legitimate sources.  If you're interested in buying genuine parts, the first thing you need to do is stop shopping on eBay/Ali and from cheap 3rd party resellers on Amazon.  The second you do that, you'll find that the number of fakes you inadvertently purchase falls essentially to zero.  Some can still make their way into legitimate distribution channels, but if that happens you contact the distributor so they can investigate it.

If you don't want to spend the money for a real FTDI product, then don't be pissed off when your counterfeit goes tits up.

Nope. Sorry - that line of reasoning does not hold up. You can get a genuine FTDI chip with a cheap eBay device and probably usually do. I bought a cheap $2 USB-serial converter a few years ago and it turns out it has a genuine chip. As I posted before: Please tell  me which of these products contain fake chips and which do not.  How about these?

If your argument is - just buy from Digikey, Mouser, etc then FTDI has already lost. Why ? because the prices are much higher and the average consumer doesn't even know what Digikey or Mouser is.   And if the only way to ensure a device will work is to buy the most expensive one - everyone will just choose to buy one of the reliable inexpensive devices using a different manufacturer's chip.

Either way. FTDI has lost customers.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #585 on: February 07, 2016, 12:32:05 am »
@Someone:
People are people and there will be always one who -despite all the rules and regulations set forth in the procurement department- will be gullible to buy a batch of shady devices because the price is very cheap or they are in dire need for the parts which makes them look good to the bosses. There is no reason to be naive about that.
Which is nothing to do with FTDI, fake or just incorrect alloys are a problem in the automotive and construction industries, again buyers trying to shave some cents. Going through unapproved channels can be a problem for all sorts of reasons and exists in many industries, but thats a specific problem with procurement and the purchasing chain, not the manufacturer of the originally specified parts.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #586 on: February 07, 2016, 12:33:34 am »
buyers in most cases have no reasonable way be sure they are not getting clones

Sure they do.  Stop spending a dollar on a board from china with a BOM cost 5x that high (which SHOULD be a clear indicator that you're buying a fake, but people are apparently idiots), and instead buy from legitimate sources.  If you're interested in buying genuine parts, the first thing you need to do is stop shopping on eBay/Ali and from cheap 3rd party resellers on Amazon.  The second you do that, you'll find that the number of fakes you inadvertently purchase falls essentially to zero.  Some can still make their way into legitimate distribution channels, but if that happens you contact the distributor so they can investigate it.

If you don't want to spend the money for a real FTDI product, then don't be pissed off when your counterfeit goes tits up.

Nope. Sorry - that line of reasoning does not hold up. You can get a genuine FTDI chip with a cheap eBay device and probably usually do. I bought a cheap $2 USB-serial converter a few years ago and it turns out it has a genuine chip. As I posted before: Please tell  me which of these products contain fake chips and which do not.  How about these?

If your argument is - just buy from Digikey, Mouser, etc then FTDI has already lost. Why ? because the prices are much higher and the average consumer doesn't even know what Digikey or Mouser is.   And if the only way to ensure a device will work is to buy the most expensive one - everyone will just choose to buy one of the reliable inexpensive devices using a different manufacturer's chip.

Either way. FTDI has lost customers.
You pay for assurance one way or another, get over yourself.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #587 on: February 07, 2016, 12:44:50 am »
You pay for assurance one way or another,

No - you just choose a different companies equivalent inexpensive chip.

Quote
get over yourself.
 
Nice! Not sure what that is about. 

Personally I just find this discussion interesting - exploring how one can justify a companies seemingly self-destructive actions.  If you're not interested in the debate just move along- no reason for personal attacks.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #588 on: February 07, 2016, 12:47:14 am »
Nope. Sorry - that line of reasoning does not hold up. You can get a genuine FTDI chip with a cheap eBay device and probably usually do. I bought a cheap $2 USB-serial converter a few years ago and it turns out it has a genuine chip.

Good for you.  How many fakes have people received doing the same thing through the same distribution channels?  How much is your time worth to you?  Apparently not a lot.  I'd happily pay a dollar more to have a 99.9999999% chance I'm getting a legitimate part (instead of what, 50%?) with the backing of a real supplier than waste time and effort wading through crap.

Please tell  me which of these products contain fake chips and which do not.  How about these?
I don't know, and don't really care.  The chances are too high for me to even waste two seconds looking through them.  Same goes for all cheap chinese boards on both sites, not just ones with FTDI chips.  I don't even waste my time, and if you care about getting genuine parts (again, not just FTDI, anything), you shouldn't either.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 12:49:38 am by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #589 on: February 07, 2016, 12:59:44 am »
Nope. Sorry - that line of reasoning does not hold up. You can get a genuine FTDI chip with a cheap eBay device and probably usually do. I bought a cheap $2 USB-serial converter a few years ago and it turns out it has a genuine chip.

Good for you.  How many fakes have people received doing the same thing through the same distribution channels?  How much is your time worth to you?  Apparently not a lot.  I'd happily pay a dollar more to have a 99.9999999% chance I'm getting a legitimate part (instead of what, 50%?) with the backing of a real supplier than waste time and effort wading through crap.

So would I if I needed to - as I stated previously. Problem is I can't do that since the only way I have to get that assurance is to pay much more than $1 more to buy from someplace like Digikey. And again - it's not about me - it's about the masses of people who only know eBay or Amazon.

In either case, you've still provided no good argument as to why I or anyone else shouldn't just buy an inexpensive device using another manufacturer's chip.

That's the market that exists - not some imaginary market where manufacturers or end users have to chose between reliability and higher price.

 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #590 on: February 07, 2016, 01:23:33 am »
In either case, you've still provided no good argument as to why I or anyone else shouldn't just buy an inexpensive device using another manufacturer's chip.

That is certainly a valid option, but it's never-ending.  Switch to the next "hot" manufacturer, they start getting counterfeited, they implement protections, stop working with knockoff products, then you move to the next.  It's the approach that pickle mentioned earlier, never spec devices that are being counterfeited in your designs (or as an end-user, never purchase devices that contain chips that are being counterfeited.

It's a valid approach for design and for end-user purchasing, but it's a moving target that you have to keep tabs on, and what do you do when you develop a product, then 6 months later one of the critical parts in it starts being counterfeited?  Redesign the board to move to a new one, or tighten up your distribution chain so you're not affected?  If it's the latter, then what's the point in that approach in the first place?  I prefer to simply buy products that I know work, from reliable distributors, and not worry about it.

Users who simply want to scrape the bottom of the barrel in price should probably move to another manufacturer, and then another, and then another, and so on...

edit: typo
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 01:31:59 am by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline Someone

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #591 on: February 07, 2016, 01:29:23 am »
Nope. Sorry - that line of reasoning does not hold up. You can get a genuine FTDI chip with a cheap eBay device and probably usually do. I bought a cheap $2 USB-serial converter a few years ago and it turns out it has a genuine chip.

Good for you.  How many fakes have people received doing the same thing through the same distribution channels?  How much is your time worth to you?  Apparently not a lot.  I'd happily pay a dollar more to have a 99.9999999% chance I'm getting a legitimate part (instead of what, 50%?) with the backing of a real supplier than waste time and effort wading through crap.

So would I if I needed to - as I stated previously. Problem is I can't do that since the only way I have to get that assurance is to pay much more than $1 more to buy from someplace like Digikey. And again - it's not about me - it's about the masses of people who only know eBay or Amazon.

In either case, you've still provided no good argument as to why I or anyone else shouldn't just buy an inexpensive device using another manufacturer's chip.

That's the market that exists - not some imaginary market where manufacturers or end users have to chose between reliability and higher price.
As said before, pull you head in and buy another manufacturers product if you dont want to pay the price for a known authentic part from FTDI. The masses arent buying the cheapest possible convertor cables and modules on ebay, the volume for these chips in embedded into products where the end user never knows whats inside, if it doesnt work they take it back to the retailer.

You have some problem with this and we dont care. Stop making out like its the end of the world for FTDI, or that you should be entitled to buy any random part you like and have it work.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #592 on: February 07, 2016, 01:30:13 am »
In either case, you've still provided no good argument as to why I or anyone else shouldn't just buy an inexpensive device using another manufacturer's chip.

That is certainly a valid option, but it's never-ending.  Switch to the next "hot" manufacturer, they start getting counterfeited, they implement protections, stop working with knockoff products, then you move to the next.  It's the approach that pickle mentioned earlier, never spec devices that are being counterfeited in your designs (or as an end-user, never purchased devices that contain chips that are being counterfeited).

It's a valid approach for design and for end-user purchasing, but it's a moving target that you have to keep tabs on, and what do you do when you develop a product, then 6 months later one of the critical parts in it starts being counterfeited?  Redesign the board to move to a new one, or tighten up your distribution chain so you're not affected?  If it's the latter, then what's the point in that approach in the first place?  I prefer to simply buy products that I know work, from reliable distributors, and not worry about it.

Users who simply want to scrap the bottom of the barrel in price should probably move to another manufacturer, and then another, and then another, and so on...

Those are all valid point and a reasonable approach.  To me, the interesting thing about this whole mess is why FTDI chose the approach they did. It seems obvious to me and many others that it is pissing people off - people who never intentionally buy clones  - and it is doing damage to their brand.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #593 on: February 07, 2016, 01:41:53 am »
The masses arent buying the cheapest possible convertor cables and modules on ebay, the volume for these chips in embedded into products where the end user never knows whats inside, if it doesnt work they take it back to the retailer.
And what impact does that have on the manufacturer of those products who did not knowingly put a fake chip in their product?  How does that help FTDI maintain customers when those manufacturers can choose a difterent companies product to avoid the risk? How does it impact those manufacturers opinion about FTDI going forward? Those are the important questions IMO.

Quote
You have some problem with this and we dont care.
I didn't realize you spoke for so many! Clearly many people care about the topic given the extensive discussion here and elsewhere.  BTW - I have no "problem" with it - I just think its interesting to look at  FTDI's bonehead moves and how others defend them. It's a fun topic to discuss - don't you agree? If not why are you here?.   :-//

Quote
Stop making out like its the end of the world for FTDI, or that you should be entitled to buy any random part you like and have it work.
  Now you're just making stuff up.  I don't endorse either of those ideas.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 01:44:10 am by mtdoc »
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #594 on: February 07, 2016, 01:47:20 am »
To me, the interesting thing about this whole mess is why FTDI chose the approach they did. It seems obvious to me and many others that it is pissing people off - people who never intentionally buy clones  - and it is doing damage to their brand.
They probably assumed (perhaps wrongly?  That's not for me to say) that most people wouldn't blame them, they would blame the manufacturer who built the device.  If the manufacturer was the one responsible, they had it coming (charging people for real devices and putting in fakes to increase profits), otherwise the manufacturer would blame their build house or distributor.  If the build house/distributor was the one responsible, they had it coming (again, charging customers for real devices and supplying them with fakes), and so on up the chain.  Maybe they thought this unfolding of events and the resulting tightening of supply chains would outweigh the backlash from end-users.  I imagine they had discussions on the topic and came to this conclusion, but I don't have any inside information.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
I agree.  Whether this helps or hurts FTDI in the long run, they made this decision, and they will ultimately be the ones dealing with the results.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 01:49:08 am by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #595 on: February 07, 2016, 01:53:13 am »
I guess the bonehead move is in your opinion, apparently some don't share that opinion including FTDI themselves.

The driver has been out for 7 months, you'll think that if it was costing them sales they would have reverted it by now like they did  when they decided to brick devices.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #596 on: February 07, 2016, 01:55:15 am »
Whether this helps or hurts FTDI in the long run, they made this decision, and they will ultimately be the ones dealing with the results.
I don't think the impact on FTDI will be that big as they are likely to keep most of the business they have. The biggest question is how many design-ins and new business they will miss due to people not using FTDI USB-UART bridges anymore for various reasons. Also note that WIndows 10 comes with drivers for almost every USB UART bridge out there so the advantage (unique selling point of FTDI) of having the drivers delivered with Windows and only FTDI's products working out of the box diminishes quickly.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline mtdoc

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #597 on: February 07, 2016, 01:56:57 am »
Whether this helps or hurts FTDI in the long run, they made this decision, and they will ultimately be the ones dealing with the results.
I don't think the impact on FTDI will be that big as they are likely to keep most of the business they have. The biggest question is how many design-ins they will miss due to people not using FTDI USB-UART bridges anymore for various reasons. Also note that WIndows 10 comes with drivers for almost every USB UART bridge out there so the advantage of having the drivers delivered with Windows and only FTDI's products working out of the box diminishes quickly.

Does anyone know what percentage of FTDI's business comes from this chip?
 

Offline all_repair

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #598 on: February 07, 2016, 02:32:21 am »
I don't think the impact on FTDI will be that big as they are likely to keep most of the business they have. The biggest question is how many design-ins and new business they will miss due to people not using FTDI USB-UART bridges anymore for various reasons. Also note that WIndows 10 comes with drivers for almost every USB UART bridge out there so the advantage (unique selling point of FTDI) of having the drivers delivered with Windows and only FTDI's products working out of the box diminishes quickly.
The win10 thing makes the FDTI moves look so comical.  I didn't know win10 shall eliminate FDTI previous advantage, and also didn't know that some compatibles are actually better than FDTI.  If they didn't pull these silly moves, they can charge their premium price and people like me shall always be paying and recommending.  We just could not afford to play these childish games, and we do not run the security services of all the FDTI supply chain and can never be sure of what containmination may happen.  For nothing, they have thrown away their brand advantage. 
 

Offline madsci1016

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Re: FTDIgate 2.0?
« Reply #599 on: February 07, 2016, 03:15:09 am »

They probably assumed (perhaps wrongly?  That's not for me to say) that most people wouldn't blame them, they would blame the manufacturer who built the device.  If the manufacturer was the one responsible, they had it coming (charging people for real devices and putting in fakes to increase profits), otherwise the manufacturer would blame their build house or distributor.  If the build house/distributor was the one responsible, they had it coming (again, charging customers for real devices and supplying them with fakes), and so on up the chain.  Maybe they thought this unfolding of events and the resulting tightening of supply chains would outweigh the backlash from end-users.  I imagine they had discussions on the topic and came to this conclusion, but I don't have any inside information.

Exactly. The companies who chose to use risky supply channels are the ones that are going to have angry customers. This is how you force the issue and identify bad supply channels.

To me, the interesting thing about this whole mess is why FTDI chose the approach they did.

I'm still waiting for an alternative to be suggested and not defeated. To recap, so there's no more spinning in circles in this thread, here's what's been suggested and defeated.

Use the laws to go after counterfeiters and cloners
Ineffective and prohibitively expensive, intentional trade law is useless.

Pop-up a message
Can't; driver runs outside user-space

Then just log a message in the system log
Really? Who reads their system log all the time?

Just refuse to work
Ineffective, people will just role back driver and think nothing of it. Would create misplaced distrust of FTDI.

Design a new chip with security features
Extremely expensive to redesign silicon. Not to mention any security/encryption features in the communications would mean there could be no Linux support. At least without binary blobs and we all know how linux people feel about binary blobs.
 


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