Sony to Recall 60,000 Laptop Batteries, May Cut Profit Forecast

A Tokyo cyclist passes a Vaio advert (AFP Photo)

Sony is recalling the lithium-ion batteries for its own Vaio laptop computers due to consumer concerns about potential overheating. The recall, initially in Japan, may also be extended to overseas, a Sony spokeswoman said.

Last month Sony announced a global replacement program for its batteries used by other laptop makers but until now had insisted that batteries used in its own computers posed no risk.

Before the recalls, Sony forecast a full-year to March net profit of 130 billion yen (1.09 billion dollars), operating profit of 130 billion yen and sales of 8.23 trillion yen, but the company is now reconsidering those figures.

"We know that the battery problems will generate certain costs. We have also lowered the price of the PlayStation 3 which will have an impact," Sony spokeswoman Mami Imada said following reports of a possible downgrade.

"There are other factors to take into account too, like currency fluctuations. If our analysis suggests we need to revise our earnings forecast, we will do so and we will announce it in a timely fashion," she said.

More than 7.5 million Sony-made batteries have been recalled by computer makers worldwide since mid-August due to concerns that the batteries may overheat and catch fire.

Sony said on August 25 that it would incur costs of up to 257 million dollars after massive recalls of its laptop batteries by US computer makers Apple Computer and Dell.

Since then its troubles have spread further to Toshiba, China's Lenovo, Fujitsu, Hitachi and Sharp. Some Japanese firms are also considering demanding compensation from Sony, according to local media.

The massive battery recall has hit Sony just as a painful restructuring drive had appeared to be paying off after a weak patch at the iconic Japanese company that created the Walkman portable music player.

There is also concern about prospects for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) after Sony last month slashed the planned price of the delay-ridden new console, preparing for a fierce fight against rivals Microsoft and Nintendo.

Source: AFP

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