Dell and Sony knew about battery problems nearly a year ago, waited for catastrophic failures

“Dell and Sony knew about and discussed manufacturing problems with Sony-made Lithium-Ion batteries as long as ten months ago, but held off on issuing a recall until those flaws were clearly linked to catastrophic failures causing those batteries to catch fire, a Sony Electronics spokesman said,” Paul F. Roberts reports for InfoWorld.

“Spokesman Rick Clancy said the companies had conversations in October 2005 and again in February 2006. Discussions were about the problem of small metal particles that had contaminated Lithium-Ion battery cells manufactured by Sony, causing batteries to fail and, in some cases, overheat,” Roberts reports.

Roberts reports, “Sony declined to characterize the discussions between the companies that took place in October, 2005, and then again in February, except to say that they were ‘specific to particular cells of batteries in battery packs used in Dell notebooks,’ Clancy said.”

“The CPSC is in ongoing talks with Sony about its notebook batteries beyond its order with Dell, said Wolfson,” Roberts reports. “He declined to say which laptop makers the company was working with, or to say whether it would do a broader recall of any Sony batteries with the metal particle contamination problem.”

Full article here.

Funny editorial cartoon here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Whit” for the heads up.]

Related MacDailyNews articles:
WSJ: Dell’s back-to-school business may be at risk – August 17, 2006
Sony says fire-prone batteries ‘believed to be specific to batteries supplied to Dell’ – August 16, 2006
PC box assemblers say battery problems limited to Dell; Apple still investigating – August 16, 2006
Dell issues largest safety recall in history: 4.1 million laptop batteries due to fire threat – August 14, 2006
a href=””>Another Dell laptop goes up in flames – July 28, 2006
Dell laptop fires may have been downplayed – July 22, 2006
Dell warns of earnings miss; shares plunge 15% – July 21, 2006
NY Times: Dell’s exploding laptop and other image problems – July 10, 2006
Survey shows big jump in consumer interest in buying Apple Mac; Dell takes steep slide – July 06, 2006
Dell laptop explodes into flames at Japanese conference – June 21, 2006
Time Magazine on Apple’s 13-inch MacBook: ‘Dell and HP should be very worried’ – June 07, 2006


  1. Careful about pouncing on Dell and Sony for ‘knowingly’ withholding information about inferior components in their products – Apple does the same thing ALL THE TIME as in knowingly marketing products containing inferior and immediately obsolete components to get willing consumers to buy their stuff twice – once when they are in hurry to get their hands on the ‘newest’ version of their hardware and again when it’s replaced by the ‘faster and better’ version 2 that was held back to scarf up on the over-anxious dummies who Apple loves to take advantage of all the time.

    Proof: ‘new’ Intel chips, ‘faster’ processors, ‘hotter’ graphics cards, ‘blazing’ memory, etc., etc., etc., now getting ready to launch across the board in all the new Apple hardware. Everything you bought in ’06 will be old technology by Christmas.

    You can make them stop this vile practice by keeping your plastic in your pocket.

  2. MDN – It would be irresponsible for Sony/Dell to issue a recall without being certain that the batteries were in fact linked to the “catastrophic failures”.

    Pete Peterson – does the “vile practice” modifier apply to selling technology when it is available or to selling better technology when that is avaialble?

    When I buy a house, I don’t blame the realtor when six months later a nicer house down the street goes on the market, even when it costs the same as my house. That is the nature of the market. “These are the goods available for sale today at this price.” How can you take issue with that?

  3. tt…how about this?

    There once was a company named Dell,
    As with Sony their sales did swell.
    It wasn’t their desire
    That the batteries caught fire,
    And their credibility shot all to hell.

  4. Now what’s the difference is how Apple and Dell addressed this problem?

    1: Apple: Issues recall early before it becomes a widespread problem. Sends emails and letters to customers to arrange for exchange. Sends a pre-paid shipping box.

    2: Dell: Totally ignores issue hoping to get away with it or reduce the recalled units. Finally motivated by a rather nasty public incident which was just by chance caught on tape and shown to millions online. Forced to issue 4.1 million unit recall or face numerous lawsuits.

    All products have defects, it’s how a company handles the problem is what determines which is better.

  5. How does selling technology when you know something better is coming down the line equate to selling technology that you know is flawed?
    Every technology company (and indeed customer) in the world knows that technology becomes “obsolete” quickly. If Pete Peterson had his way then no company would ever release anything for sale because they would know that at some point they’ll be able to sell something better.

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