RESCUECOM Advises Customer to Take Advantage of Battery Recall

InsideBayArea.com Quotes David Milman on Faulty Batteries

Apple recalls 1.8 million Sony batteries in laptops
InsideBayArea.com
Date published 8/24/2006
FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS:


Apple recalls 1.8 million Sony batteries in laptops

Apple Computer Inc. on Thursday recalled 1.8 million Sony-built notebook batteries that could overheat and catch fire, just 10 days after Dell Inc.'s record-setting recall involving the same problem and the same supplier. Apple said it has received nine reports of lithium-ion battery packs overheating, including two cases in which users suffered minor burns. There have been instances of minor property damage, Apple said.

"Mine gets so hot," said Rachel Zegart, a 19-year-old student at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. Zegart, who had not checked if her laptop was on the list, said the students on campus are very dependent on Apple Macintosh computer programs. "This school runs on Macs," she said.

Megan Vrolijk, 21, a visual arts student who uses her Apple laptop to edit video footage, agrees, adding that graphic design students should especially be concerned since they use the programs a lot.

Apple's announcement comes 10 days after Dell Inc.'s recall of 4.1 million faulty laptop batteries ? the largest involving electronics in the history of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Both companies' batteries were made by Sony Energy Devices Corp. of Japan.

In a statement, Sony said the problems arise "on rare occasions" when microscopic metal particles in the recalled battery cells hit other parts of the cell and lead to a short circuit.

"Both recalls really put a spotlight on Sony," said David A. Milman, founder and chief executive of Rescuecom Corp., a national computer repair and services company.

"People should know that lithuim-ion batteries are absolutely safe," he said, adding that the recalled batteries are just an isolated case involving metallic contamination during the manufacturing process.

Milman said that consumers should stop using the recalled batteries immediately and use a power cord instead. As of this week, only 150,000 users have taken advantage of the Dell recall. "That's less than 4 percent," he said. "You would expect more."

The recalls are expected to cost Sony between $172 million and $278 million.

Both Vrolijk and Zegart said they will continue to have faith in Apple products because of the Cupertino company's great customer service.

The recall was not expected to materially affect Apple's financial results, said spokesman Steve Dowling.

Apple shares rose 50 cents to $67.81 in Thursday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The latest recall covers 1.1 million rechargeable batteries in the 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4 and 15-inch PowerBook G4 laptops sold in the United States from October 2003 through August 2006. The recall also covers an additional 700,000 batteries in laptops sold abroad, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The Apple recall only affects laptops that run PowerPC chips built by IBM Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. It does not affect Apple's Intel Corp.-based models, including the MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Apple notebook owners were told to stop using the batteries and to remove them from their laptops. The machines can continue to be used as long as they're plugged into an AC power source.

Apple asked customers to consult a Web site (http://support.apple.com/batteryprogram) or call a toll-free hotline, 1-800-275-2273, to determine whether they have a battery that is covered by the recall. A free replacement will be shipped to affected customers.

Dell's recall covers about 14 percent of the Latitude, Inspiron, XPS and Precision notebooks sold between April 1, 2004, and July 18 of this year.

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The Associated Press and Correspondent Donna Tam contributed to this report.

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