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It's still Panasonic batteries for Dell despite recall

Dell Computer Corp said it would continue to buy batteries from Panasonic Matsushita Corp despite the recent recall of faulty notebook batteries produced by the latter.

SINGAPORE--Dell Computer Corp said it would continue to buy batteries from Panasonic Matsushita Corp despite the recent recall of faulty notebook batteries produced by the latter.

This was confirmed by a Singapore-based Dell Asia Pacific spokesperson, who added: "The recall of faulty batteries is an isolated incident. Panasonic is our trusted supplier."

Last week, Dell announced that it would recall about 284,000 notebook batteries worldwide due to a flaw that has caused at least one notebook to catch fire.

The recall is due to a design flaw in the lithium-ion batteries incorporated into Dell's Inspiron 5000 and 5000(e) notebooks, which can cause the laptops to overheat.

At a press conference in Malaysia this morning, Dell chairman and CEO Michael S Dell declined to discuss any specifics of the company's current relations with Panasonic, or to reveal the cost of recalling the batteries.

When contacted, Panasonic declined to comment, except to say that "Dell is managing this product recall and has asked us to direct all questions to them".

This was not Dell's first battery recall. Last October, the Texas-based computer maker faced the same problem with batteries manufactured by Sanyo Electric Company. Dell had to recall 27,000 Inspiron and Latitude notebook batteries.

According to the Singapore-based Dell spokesperson, Sanyo is still one of the company's original equipment manufacturers.

An analyst believed Dell's current battery problem would have little impact on its notebook sales.

"This problem is short-term, especially since Dell has done very well in the market, having established a good brand name," Frost & Sullivan analyst Mohaiyad Hoosenally said.

Nevertheless, to ensure that the situation does not get worse, "Dell must take a proactive role by calling up its customers, informing them of the problem and getting it fixed", he said.

"Dell should, in fact, replace the whole notebook unit instead of just the batteries. Cost might be an issue, but in the long term, Dell would benefit in terms of improved customer confidence and satisfaction."

Dell battery recall incidents

Notebook Model Date Units Recalled OEM Partner
Inspiron 5000 & 5000(e) May 2001 284,000 Panasonic Matsushita Corp
Inspiron & Latitude October 2000 27,000 Sanyo Electric Company
Source: Dell Computer