USB onboard the Micro (and the UNO) is both an advantage and a liability. I've seen several UNOs that have lost their USB firmware and the end users do not have the ability or know-how to reload the USB interface. I've only seen one FTDI chip go bad in over 3000 328 based boards.
how reliable I've found FTDI chips to be in the past
IC that takes HIGH in and outputs GND
but last time I looked the new ones were more expensive.
FT230-XS SOIC package it's no smaller in size than the FT232R
I'm not sure why you are not buying from E-14 Aussie?