SAN FRANCISCO - Apple Computer Inc. on Thursday recalled 1.8 million Sony-built notebook batteries that could overheat and catch fire, just 10 days after Dell Inc.'s record-setting recall involving the same problem and the same supplier.
Apple said it has received nine reports of lithium-ion battery packs overheating, including two cases in which users suffered minor burns. There have been instances of minor property damage, Apple said.
Apple's announcement comes 10 days after Dell Inc.'s recall of 4.1 million faulty laptop batteries - the largest involving electronics in the history of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Both companies' batteries were made by Sony Energy Devices Corp. of Japan.
In a statement, Sony said the problems arise "on rare occasions" when microscopic metal particles in the recalled battery cells hit other parts of the cell and lead to a short circuit.
Both recalls are expected to cost Sony between $172 million and $278 million.
The recall was not expected to materially affect Apple's financial results, said spokesman Steve Dowling
Apple shares fell 27 cents, to $67.04, in Thursday afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The latest recall covers 1.1 million rechargeable batteries in the 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4 and 15-inch PowerBook G4 laptops sold in the United States from October 2003 through August 2006. The recall also covers an additional 700,000 batteries in laptops sold abroad, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The Apple recall only affects laptops that run PowerPC chips built by IBM Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. It does not affect Apple's Intel Corp.-based models, including the MacBook and MacBook Pro,.
Apple notebook owners were told to stop using the batteries and to remove them from their laptops. The machines can continue to be used as long as they're plugged into an AC power source.
Apple asked customers to consult a Web site or call a toll-free hotline, 1-800-275-2273, to determine whether they have a battery that is covered by the recall. A free replacement will be shipped to affected customers.
Dell's recall covers about 14 percent of the Latitude, Inspiron, XPS and Precision notebooks sold between April 1, 2004, and July 18 of this year.
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