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Sony gets pro-active with global laptop-battery recall

by Bob Crabtree on 30 September 2006, 14:22

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE)

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The news

Sony is to carry out a global recall of "certain" lithium-ion laptop batteries, "to address concern related to recent over-heating incidents". The company says that it will, "consult with its OEM customers that utilize these battery cells and work with those that choose to participate regarding quantity and the scheduling of replacement battery packs".

Bottom line? Sony has realised - perhaps at the prompting of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission - that it's got to start getting pro-active. Otherwise, it risks watching its huge lithium-ion battery business - which extends beyond laptops into other areas, notably camcorders - disappear straight down the toilet.

After the massive recalls of batteries that Sony supplied to Dell, Apple, Toshiba and, most recently, IBM and Lenovo - already totalling close to seven million - everyone's assuming, right or not, that the batteries it supplied to all other laptop makers over the same at-risk period may also present fire hazards and that the same is true of lithium-ion batteries used for other applications.

And, of course, consumer faith in Sony's high-profile brand has already taken a terrible beating in the last year or so over DRM rootkit malware and delays to and high-pricing of Blu-ray Disc hardware and the PS3 games console.

Toshiba was one of the first to react to Sony's global-recall announcement - despite the fact that it still maintains that its recall notice of September 19 was not because batteries it bought from Sony were in danger of catching fire.

According to various reports, Toshiba's initial recall of  340,000 batteries may be extended by a further 830,000 batteries (though some say that is the all-up figure). Tosh itself appears not to have formally announced numbers but there is no doubt that it is extending the recall as this statement makes clear:

Toshiba additional battery-recall statement

On September 28, 2006 Sony announced a replacement program for certain battery packs for notebook computers.

Toshiba has no evidence that the overheating issue that has occurred in Dell and Apple computers associated with Sony batteries is present in Toshiba notebook computers.

However, in order to ensure customers’ relief in using our computers, we are planning to cooperate with Sony to initiate a voluntary replacement program of battery packs installed in our Toshiba notebook computers that have the subject Sony batteries.  Toshiba will provide more details as soon as information is available.  Please return and review this site for further information.

The aforementioned notice is not related to the Battery Pack Exchange Program announced on September 19, 2006 .   For information regarding the September 19, 2006 announcement, please visit:  http://bxinfo.toshiba.com

Reports also suggest that Dell's initial recall of 4.1 million batteries will be extended a fraction - by a mere 100,000! - though we can find nothing to support this on Dell's own web sites.

So, who will be next to announce a recall (extended or new) and what will be the response to Sony's recall offer by laptop makers in the UK and elsewhere in the EU who are its OEM customers but don't do business in the USA and thus aren't under the watchful eye of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission?
Check out Sony's global-recall press release on page two then share your thoughts with us in this thread in the HEXUS.lifestyle news forum.


HEXUS.community :: discussion thread about this article
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: IBM and Lenovo recall half a million fire-hazard, Sony-made batteries
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Toshiba's turn to recall laptop batteries - but 'no safety risks'
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Apple recalls 1.8 million laptop batteries. But who's next? And what about UK-based laptop makers?
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Dell recalls 4.1 million notebook batteries worldwide
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Oz airline tells Dell owners to whip 'em out and tape 'em up

HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Sony BMG settles CD root-kit class-action suits
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Microsoft targets Sony DRM and other rootkit malware
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Sony BMG stops production of XCP copy-protected CDs
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Bands sue Sony for massively underpaying music-download royalties
HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Pressure from EFF on CD copy-protection firm SunnComm pays off

HEXUS.lifestyle.headlines :: Rip-off priced Sony Blu-ray Disc burner can't play BD movies
HEXUS.net :: All Blu-ray Disc-related

HEXUS.gaming.headlines :: PS3 launch delayed until March 2007
HEXUS.net :: All PS3-related


Sony Corporation - Sony to Initiate Global Replacement Program for Notebook Computer Battery Packs
Toshiba - battery recall page (September 28 - addition recall imminent)
Toshiba - battery recall page (September 19 recall)
Lenovo - battery recall page
Lenovo - battery recall FAQ
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Lenovo and IBM Announce Recall of ThinkPad Notebook Computer Batteries Due to Fire Hazard
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Recalls and product safety news
US Consumer Product Safety Commission - Apple Announces Recall of Batteries Used in Previous iBook and PowerBook Computers Due To Fire Hazard
Apple - Battery Exchange Program iBook G4 and PowerBook G4
Apple - FAQ - Battery Exchange Program  iBook G4 and PowerBook G4
Dell USA - Battery Recall page

PC Mag -  Update: Sony To Ask Notebook Battery Customers For Global Recall
SiliconValley.com - Dell recalling 100,000 more Sony PC battery packs

EFF - More on the Sony BMG settlement