T-Platforms, a Russian company that once planned to build an exascale supercomputer and local processors, was declared bankrupt this week because the cost of the company’s assets fell short of its obligations. T-Platforms was one of the few Russian companies that could build world-class high-performance supercomputers. The main reasons for the bankruptcy are not sanctions from Western countries, but rather Russia’s attempt to replace Western technologies with its own.
T-Platforms was established in 2002 to build servers and supercomputers that would be competitive with offerings from IBM and HP. Over the years, T-Platforms has developed some of Russia’s most capable supercomputers based on AMD Opteron, Intel Xeon and Nvidia Tesla processors. For example, the company’s Lomonosov supercomputer, based on 33,072 processors, was ranked the 18th most powerful machine in the world and the 3rd supercomputer in Europe.
Eventually, the company expanded its operations outside of Russia and established offices in Hannover, Germany; Hong Kong, China; and Taipei, Taiwan. However, the company ran into trouble with the US Department of Commerce in early 2013 when the latter accused T-Platforms of selling supercomputers to military end users and nuclear research contrary to US national security. As a result, T-Platforms was removed from the DoC Entity List in late 2013 – early 2014.
But after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and faced the first round of sanctions, the government launched programs to develop microprocessors and other chips in the country to replace x86 offerings from AMD and Apple. Intel. Baikal Microelectronics, a subsidiary of T-Platforms established in 2012, was one of the companies expected to create Arm-based systems-on-chips for PCs for government agencies.
Baikal Microelectronics has obtained government grants to accelerate the development of homebrew processors and servers. However, while Baikal Microelectronics managed to design several Arm and MIPS-based processors, while T-Platforms started selling some of its new servers in Russia, they failed to deliver their products on time. As a result, the Russian Ministry of Commerce sued Baikal in 2019. Meanwhile, the general manager of T-Platforms was arrested in March 2019 because his company failed to deliver around 9,000 Baikal-based PCs to the Ministry of Commerce. Interior. It was then that the company began laying off staff and folding its operations.
Eventually, T-Platforms had to sell its 60% stake in Baikal to Varton in October 2020, reports CNews. The company filed for bankruptcy in October 2021. In December 2021, the Moscow arbitration decided to introduce an external control procedure for T-Platforms. Vsevolod Opanasenko, the former CEO of T-Platforms who faces ten years in prison, plans to file for bankruptcy himself. Some media say he controlled 75% of T-Platforms, while the remaining stake belonged to the Russian government.
Currently, the websites of T-Platforms and Baikal Microelectronics are no longer operational.