Optical/IP Networks

Dealing With Laptop Recalls

Enterprise users say that the latest round of laptop recalls -- resulting from potentially hazardous batteries from Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) -- would not be a factor that affects their buying decision when it comes time to select new corporate notebooks.

The latest vendor to be struck with recall fever is Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). The company said Thursday that it is recalling 1.8 million "lithium-ion batteries containing cells manufactured by Sony Corporation of Japan" that were sold worldwide from October 2003 through August 2006 for use 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4, and 15-inch PowerBook G4 computers.

The company says that in rare instances the cells could pose a safety risk from overheating. You can find out whether or not your Mac is part of the program here.

Apple's move comes just a week after Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) said it would recall four million Sony batteries because of the same overheating issue (See Dell's Battery Burnout.) Despite all of this, enterprise users seem unfazed by recalls, and see them as a sign that vendors are on the ball regarding safety issues.

"It wouldn't affect my decision on what to buy," says Steve Stephensen, IT Operations manager at Escondido, Calif.-based benefits administration firm TRI-AD. "Recalls happen."

Apple laptops aren't generally regarded as a must-have enterprise machine except in certain niche markets, and many firms already have long-term buying plans for a particular brand of PC.

"We use [IBM] ThinkPads here and I haven't seen that problem with them yet," says Stephen Taylor, IS Manager at Denver-based legal partnership Rothgerber, Johnson & Lyons LLP (RJ&L). "But [the recall] certainly wouldn't keep me from buying an Apple."

Adds Taylor: "As long as the company stands behind their product I'm happy."

It has long been known that the underlying lithium-ion technology used in laptop batteries could potentially ignite or explode when exposed to high temperatures. The phenomenon has been recorded in the automobile industry as well as by computer and other electronics manufacturers. Lithium-ion, however, offers longer battery life and ease of use to offset what is generally regarded as a low risk levels.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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