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Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Sony battery trouble spreads to Toshiba laptop computers

Toshiba will recall 340,000 laptop computers worldwide due to problems with batteries made by rival Sony, which is already reeling over defective products.

Toshiba will replace the batteries installed in eight models of its "dynabook" and "dynabook Satellite" series produced between March and May this year.

The Japanese company has shipped 340,000 of the computers mainly in Asia, Europe and North America, with 45,000 sold in Japan.

The batteries made by Sony might not be able to be recharged or produce power "but there is no fear of catching fire or emitting smoke," Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Omori said.

Omori declined to comment on the recall costs or which side will have to pay but added that there will be no impact on Toshiba's earnings.

Toshiba will replace the batteries free of charge.

Sony said it was unaware of the trouble reported by Toshiba with the batteries' insulation, which was supplied by an outside manufacturer that changed the type of material without informing Sony.

"We will soon begin discussions with companies concerned over the issue, including recall costs," said a Sony spokesman.

"Although this case is still under investigation, chances that a similar defect to the one with Toshiba will occur at other companies are extremely slim," the spokesman said.

The Toshiba recall is especially embarrassing for Sony which only last month announced it would have to take a hit of up to 257 million dollars for recalls of millions of its batteries by US computer makers Apple Computer and Dell.

The US companies had voiced fears that the batteries could catch fire, with Apple recalling more than one million Sony batteries and Dell 4.1 million.

Toshiba, however, said the cause of its battery troubles differed from that of Dell or Apple.

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