Sony sounds alarm over VAIO battery fire risk

Danger sign

Sony's personal computer business has been rocked by another safety scandal after reports that the latest version of its VAIO laptop is at risk of catching fire.

The company received three reports of the laptop's battery overheating causing partial burns to the device, most recently on 8 April, and stopped selling them at the end of this month.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, the company said it was identifying affected versions of the VAIO Fit 11A by serial number and is developing a programme to repair or replace them.

"Sony has identified that the non-removable battery packs provided by a third-party supplier, included in (and limited to) VAIO Fit 11A released in February 2014 could potentially malfunction and cause overheating, resulting in partial burns to the chassis of the PC," Sony said.

"The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance, so we are advising those with affected models to switch off the unit and discontinue use," it added.

Exact details of what customers should do will be provided on the Sony home page within two weeks.

The batteries were not developed by Sony itself but by Panasonic. The company has been unable to say which other models of computer may be affected as such business information is confidential, however it claims not to have heard complaints from any other customers.

This is not the first time Sony has experienced problems with its batteries overheating. In 2006 a global replacement programme for certain types of lithium-ion laptop batteries was commenced and in 2010 regulators in the US instructed the Japanese company to recall thousands of VAIO laptops for the same reason.

However, the company will soon be free of this type of concern as it has sold its VAIO business to private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.