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Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Fujitsu to recall 287,000 Sony-made batteries

Fujitsu will recall 287,000 notebook PC batteries made by Sony, bringing the number of Sony batteries recalled to more than 7.5 million.

Fujitsu last week joined a growing list of computer makers recalling Sony batteries, but did not say at the time how many batteries would be affected.

Besides Fujitsu, Dell Inc. , Apple Computer Inc. , Lenovo , IBM and Toshiba Corp. have recalled the laptop PC batteries, which Sony has said can short-circuit on rare occasions, overheat and catch fire.

Following the recall announcements in August by Dell and Apple of a total 5.9 million batteries, Sony said the two recalls would cost it between 20 billion yen and 30 billion yen, or $170 million to $254 million.

But a Sony spokesman said after the Fujitsu announcement that total recall costs for Sony are now likely to exceed the previous estimate. The company will make an announcement as soon as its latest estimate and impact on the company's earnings become clear, he said.

Prior to the Fujitsu announcement, shares of Sony ended down 3.3 percent at a nine-month closing low of 4,450 yen. The Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index was down 1.27 percent.

Compounding the blow to Sony's reputation as a top-class manufacturer is a delay in the launch in Europe of its long-awaited new video game console, the PlayStation 3.

Sony said last month it would postpone the launch of the latest version of its blockbuster game machine in Europe and some other regions to March from November due to a production glitch, missing the critical Christmas shopping season.

On Tuesday, the maker of Bravia flat TVs, Vaio personal computers and Cyber-shot digital cameras said it would start rolling out its Blu-ray high-definition optical disc recorders in Japan in December. That is about a month behind rival Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.'s launch of similar equipment.

In addition, Sony's models, unlike Matsushita's, will lack a function enabling users to record on dual-layer discs, further stoking concerns over Sony's technological competitiveness.

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