Close on the heels of Dell's recall of 4.1 million batteries that power its laptops, Apple has announced the recall of 1.8 million batteries that use Sony's lithium-ion cell technology.
Apple, maker of the iconic Mac, said its iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 computers that use Sony batteries were also facing the same problem of overheating that was the cause of Dell's historic recall last week.
Big Blue said it has received nine reports of batteries overheating, including two cases where users received minor burns. However, it says no serious injuries have been reported.
The US Consumer Products Safety Commission, meanwhile, has advised users to remove the batteries immediately and store them in safe places. "These lithium-ion batteries can overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers," the commission has warned users.
Apple said the problem is mainly in its iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 laptop models sold between October 2003 and August 2006.
The recall involves 1.1 million batteries sold in the US and 700,000 sold overseas. This represent about 32 per cent of the nearly 5.6-million laptops it sold during the period. Compared to this, Dell sold 22 million laptops during the recall period and its recall, though larger in number, is only a smaller portion of its total sales.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is looking at other laptop brands that use the lithium ion batteries to see if they too pose a risk of fire.
Other major manufacturers like HP and Lenovo also use Sony batteries. If they too were all to go on a recall spree, the electronics industry, and more particularly the laptop business, would be in chaos.
HP, the second biggest computer maker, had earlier said, "it is a Dell issue," while Lenovo said it had no plans for a battery recall yet.
Sony's battery-supply business, however, is small compared with its overall operations and a complete loss of the battery business may not cost Sony much. But the recall comes at a time when Sony is facing fierce competition from rivals Samsung Electronics and Sharp Corp as it tries to revamp its electronics business with its Bravia brand LCD.