Tech Industry

"Click of death" numbers revealed

Iomega releases figures for the first time on the rate of failure of its Zip drive due to the so-called "click of death" problem.

Iomega released figures today for the first time on the rate of failure of its Zip drive due to the so-called "click of death" problem.

Clicking-related problems result in returns or complaints with less than one percent of current Zip drive users, Iomega said.

Until today, the company steadfastly had refused to disclose any numbers on the problem's prevalence, which has captured the attention of participants in newsgroups, including "alt.iomega.zip.jazz" and "comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.misc," as well as visitors to Web sites, such as the "Click of Death" Message Board on The Unofficial Iomega Page and The Unofficial Iomega Click Death Home Page.

Up until now, the company has maintained that the Zip failure rate was below industry norms, without quantifying either the failure rate or the industry norm.

In a letter to the editors of PC Week, George Meyer, director of strategic marketing for Iomega's personal storage division, that click-related failure had been reported by "only a fraction of one percent of current Zip drives customers."

Iomega boasts an installed base of more than 12 million Zip drives.

Meyer wrote PC Week to protest a column in the computer industry journal that warned users against using the Zip product.

"We believe your February 13 article misrepresents our customers' experience with the Iomega Zip drive," wrote Meyer in a copy of the letter obtained by CNET's NEWS.COM. "Our research indicates that the vast majority of the more than 12 million registered Zip drive users report being very satisfied with their Zip drives."

In an interview with NEWS.COM, Meyer said he hoped Iomega's disclosure would quiet consumer nerves about the click of death problem.

"I think it will at least put it into perspective," said Meyer. "People are asking, 'Is this 50 percent? Is this 10 percent? Is this going to happen to me?'"