Sharp starts laptop battery recall

Toshiba, Fujitsu and Hitachi may demand more compensation from Sony for the exploding-laptop debacle.

Sharp has joined the ranks of laptop manufacturers recalling troublesome batteries.

On Monday, Sharp became the latest company to announce plans to recall lithium-ion batteries manufactured by Sony, adding to the long and growing list of companies recalling such batteries.

Sony also appears to be facing widespread claims for compensation from several laptop manufacturers, including Toshiba, Hitachi and Fujitsu, according to reports.

Sharp is recalling 28,000 battery packs. "We decided to recall the batteries to ensure safety for our customers," company spokesman Hiroshi Takenami told the Associated Press. The recall was made when the company discovered the batteries could short-circuit, which could lead to overheating.

Fujitsu has announced it is replacing 51,000 more Sony laptop batteries, following a similar recall of 287,000 laptop batteries earlier this month.

Fujitsu also said it might be seeking compensation for damages for the cost of recalling the batteries. All companies involved with the battery recalls, which also include Lenovo, Apple Computer and Dell, are expecting Sony to cover the direct costs associated with the process. Now some suppliers may be seeking compensation for the indirect costs, such as the cost of damage to corporate reputations.

According to the AP, Fujitsu is assessing the "extent of damage to determine whether to seek (other) compensation," while Toshiba is considering seeking compensation "to cover damages to its product image and missed sales opportunities."

Hitachi reportedly is also seeking compensation from Sony after its own product recall earlier this month. The AP quoted a company representative saying that Hitachi is waiting to finish the recall before deciding on any compensation moves.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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