Intel OEM Engineers Caught Selling Sample Chips on eBay

Paul Lilly

Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) arrested four engineers for allegedly selling Intel processors designated as Engineer Samples (ES) on eBay for personal profit. Intel ES chips are the property of Intel and are often sent off to reviewers and OEM manufacturers prior to commercial release in order to test for compatibility. In theory, they're supposed to be returned to Intel.

In practice, ES chips are often sold and traded, which is technically illegal. ES processors are often unlocked and sometimes cherry picked. In some cases, they can be missing certain features found on later revisions/steppings or otherwise incomplete.

According to an EETimes report, detectives were hired to investigate the suspected ES scandal and had been tracking the four suspects since September. The investigation culminated in a raid on their homes in December, which uncovered 178 ES processors worth approximately $84,000.

The CIB says the suspects admitted to selling over 500 Intel ES CPUs since 2009.

Image Credit: Intel

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