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Dell Recalls 4.1 Million Computer Batteries
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A total of 4.1 million laptop batteries are being recalled by Dell Inc -- the biggest recall in the company's 22-year history -- because they could overheat and catch fire, the world's biggest PC vendor said yesterday.

Dell said it had received six reports worldwide of Sony-supplied batteries overheating and causing damage to their surroundings.

Dell China opened a free hotline (8008580896) yesterday and a Chinese language-supported Website (dellbatteryprogram.com) to help users confirm whether they need to replace their batteries and provide a means for them to do so.

In the domestic market the problem batteries are printed with "made in China," "made in Japan" or "made in Japan, assembled in China," Dell China said in a statement yesterday.

The company, without providing the number of batteries involved in the Chinese recall, said it would affect 18 percent of all laptops sold worldwide from April 1, 2004 to last month. About 2.7 million of the notebooks were sold in the US.

In the second quarter, Dell sold about 90,000 laptops in China, giving it a 10.1 percent share of the domestic market, according to Beijing-based CCID Consulting Co, a research firm under the Ministry of Information Industry.

Dell, which said it expects no major financial impact from the recall, said it will keep Sony as a supplier of its notebook batteries, Reuters reported yesterday. Sony has agreed to share the cost of the recall. The battery problem is only the latest of several recent dents to Dell's corporate image in China.

Last week, 19 Chinese owners of Dell's Inspiron 640m laptop sued Dell because the machines were equipped with Intel's Core Duo T2300E processor instead of the T2300 advertised chip. The T2300E is cheaper and doesn't have as many functions as the T2300.

Just before the lawsuits were announced a pricing error occurred on Dell's Web-based purchasing system, disappointing consumers who believed they could buy a server at about one-tenth of its actual cost.

(Shanghai Daily August 16, 2006)

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