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Notebooks Bursting Into Flames Again

Toshiba is recalling Sony notebook batteries. While the recalls haven't hurt notebook sales, buyers could switch brands.

Toshiba on Thursday said it is once again recalling Sony battery packs following incidents in which notebooks had burst into flames.

Toshiba has recalled 10,000 batteries, according to the Reuters news agency. Toshiba is recalling twice as many batteries as are defective, but the company is building an ample safety margin.

Toshiba said in a support bulletin that its laptops were experiencing "overheating incidents with certain battery packs." The latest recall involves battery packs used in Toshiba's Satellite A100/A105 and Tecra A7 notebooks.

"Based on its investigation, Sony Corp., supplier of the subject batteries, concluded that the situation was caused by the battery packs," Toshiba said. The company reported last month that a Sony battery was responsible for at least two notebooks bursting into flames. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has listed 16 reports of Sony lithium-ion notebook batteries overheating.

Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Gateway, and Acer America also have issued recalls of the faulty Sony batteries. The global effort started last year when power sources used in notebooks from several manufacturers began showing defects and overheating. Sony last year recalled 9.6 million batteries, making it the largest recall ever in the computer industry.

While the recalls haven't hurt notebook sales, experts have said that it could push some buyers to switch brands. A survey of corporate buyers and consumers found 15% would change their buying plans because of the recalls, according to International Data Corp. While far from a majority, the number was high enough to cause a sway in market share, especially in the corporate segment where buyers purchase large numbers of laptops.

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