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Toshiba, Fujitsu announce Sony battery recalls, Dell widens its recall

Updated:
TOKYO (AP) _ The Japanese electronics makers Toshiba and Fujitsu are recalling batteries made by Sony for their laptop computers while personal computer maker Dell expanded its earlier recall of Sony battery packs. The batteries can short-circuit and have been blamed for causing some computers to catch fire.

The latest announcements bring the tally of recalled Sony batteries to about 7 million worldwide, and are a major embarrassment for the Japanese electronics and entertainment powerhouse.

Toshiba Corp. said Friday that it is recalling 830,000 batteries made by Sony for its laptop computers. Hours later, Fujitsu Ltd. recalled an undisclosed number of Sony batteries that are used in 19 of its laptop models, according to Fujitsu spokesman Masao Sakamoto.

The recalls comes as Sony Corp. is in the midst of a major overhaul of its operations, closing plants, shutting divisions and trimming jobs.

Sony said earlier Friday it had asked manufacturers using its problem batteries to carry out a recall.

It has said the batteries could catch fire in rare cases when microscopic metal particles came into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a short circuit. Typically a battery pack will shut off when there is a short circuit but on occasion the battery would catch fire instead.

The Toshiba recall involves Dynabook, Qosmio, Satellite Portege and Tecra models, but regional breakdowns and dates of manufacturing weren't immediately available, said Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Omori.

Omori said Toshiba's recall was in response to Sony's request, and Toshiba had not found any cases in which the laptops were at risk of catching fire.

``But we wanted to assure and satisfy our customers,'' he said.

Dell Inc., the world's largest personal computer maker, said Friday that it is increasing the recall of Sony battery packs used in its systems to 4.2 million units from 4.1 million units. It already was the largest electronics-related recall in U.S. history.

Based in Round Rock, Texas, Dell said that the increase in the recall was made due to additional information received about the battery packs containing cells manufactured by Sony.

Dell and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the initial recall on Aug. 15, blaming Sony battery cells. Dell began shipping replacement batteries on Aug. 15.

On Friday, Dell said customers should recheck their batteries if they have not ordered or received a replacement battery.

On Thursday, IBM Corp. and Lenovo Group, the world's third-largest computer maker, said they were seeking the recall of 526,000 rechargeable, lithium-ion Sony batteries purchased with ThinkPad computers after one of them caught fire at Los Angeles International Airport this month.

In August, Apple Computer Inc. recalled 1.8 million batteries worldwide, warning they could catch fire.

Last week, Toshiba said it was recalling 340,000 laptop batteries, also made by Sony, but that was for a problem that caused the laptops to run out of power.
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