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Sony joins laptop battery recall list

Electronics maker is recalling 90,000 of its notebook batteries; there are rumors Toshiba might sue Sony.

Sony is recalling 90,000 of its Vaio laptop batteries across China and Japan following recent battery recalls from other PC makers.

Rumors are also circulating that Toshiba is set to sue Sony, after it was forced to recall 340,000 laptop batteries made by Sony.

Sony said its recall is preemptive, and not a reaction to any particular problem. "There isn't a problem with the Vaio itself but after the problems with the other manufacturers, we decided (the recall was) something we had to do," a Sony spokesman said.

Over the past two months, computer makers including Apple Computer, Dell, Fujitsu, IBM, Lenovo and Hitachi have recalled Sony batteries.

Mark Blowers, an analyst from Butler Group, told that the battery recall has "grown into a huge problem."

"One moment it's one or two overheating batteries, now it's a manufacturing problem," he said.

The Sony battery recall is isolated within Japan and China but the analyst said he "can't believe it's not a global problem." He added: Sony "(doesn't) really know what the problem is so can't restrict recalls to a certain country."

If Toshiba files suit against Sony, it would be the first company affected by the Sony lithium-ion battery recall to seek compensation.

Blowers said Sony offered to cover the cost of replacing the Toshiba batteries, as it did with every other company with battery problems.

"Toshiba is worried about its brand being damaged," he said. "Toshiba may be gesticulating to get a better deal or more recompense with this move."

Reacting to rumors of the suit, Toshiba said in a statement: "We are studying various possibilities but nothing has been decided at this time and we are not commenting on rumors or speculations."

Gemma Simpson reported for in London.