Buggy Batteries Infest Apple

The company recalls laptops, following Dell's move in pulling Sony-made battery packs.
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Updated from 4:14 p.m. EDT

The flammable laptop-battery recall that charred

Dell's

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reputation last week has spread to

Apple

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.

The Cupertino, Calif., computer company said it was recalling about 1.8 million battery packs used in Apple notebook PCs sold from October 2003 through the current month, threatening Apple's sales to educational institutions.

As with Dell's recall, the battery packs in question were manufactured by

Sony

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and are prone to overheating, creating a fire hazard. Apple announced the recall in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The recall notice said that Apple has received nine reports of batteries overheating, including two reports of minor burns. No serious injuries have been reported.

Shares of Apple closed Thursday up 50 cents, or 0.7%, to $67.81.

Since Dell announced that it was recalling 4.1 million batteries, there has been speculation that other PC makers that use Sony batteries might be forced to issue recalls of their own.

The latest recall also could exacerbate the financial hit for Sony, which said that it would help pay for the cost of Dell's recall, estimated to be between $200 million and $400 million by industry analysts.

In a statement Thurdsay, Sony said it estimated the cost of supporting the recall for both Dell and Apple will be between 20 billion and 30 billion yen, or $171.8 million and $257.8 million.

The company said it expected no further recalls of battery packs using these particular battery cells at this time.

Hewlett-Packard

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, which also uses Sony battery cells in certain notebooks, said it had no plans for a recall.

H-P said it uses a different battery charging design and battery protection system than Dell and Apple and that it has not received any reports of overheating causing a battery failure in the Sony battery cell used with its products.

The recall affects three Apple laptop models: the 12-inch iBook G4, the 12-inch PowerBook G4 and the 15-inch PowerBook G4. Consumers should stop using the batteries immediately, and plug in the AC adapter in order to continue using the PC.

Apple's notebooks are a key piece of the company's business catering to educational institutions, which accounted for 12% of total revenue in 2005. With the recall coming during the important back-to-school season, the fallout could be especially acute for Apple.

Apple did not immediately return calls for comment.