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Wallop! Fujitsu Europe fudges HDD recall

Playing by the warranties

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We caught up today with Mike Nelson, technical sales director at Fujitsu Europe Ltd, who was happy to take our call, but profoundly reluctant to answer our questions about the Great Fujitsu Hard Drive Fiasco.

However we learned from Nelson that, contrary to Japanese reports, Fujitsu has not introduced a HDD product recall anywhere in the world. Hmm, it must have lost something in the Bloomberg translation. From our perspective, the distinction between "replacing" and "recalling" 300K faulty HDDs is very fuzzy indeed.

Nelson did not want to tell us which markets the affected HDDs have ended up. From our bulging email inbox we are now assuming that this is a worldwide issue.

Neither would Nelson confirm the percentage failure rate of the Fujitsu HDDs, reported to be 2-3 per cent of a production run of 10 million by Fujitsu in Japan (via the Japanese press). This failure rate was also trotted out today by sister company Fujitsu Siemens Computers. UK system builders are reporting much higher failure rates for 20GB Fujitsu drives, in the order of 30-50 per cent.

So, there's a problem, acknowledged at 2-3 per cent by Fujitsu in Japan, and by Fujitsu Siemens in Europe. And how is the company dealing with this?Outside "exceptional" circumstances Fujitus will not extend the (one-year) warranty it gives to OEMs and system builders, though it will honour its agreements, Nelson says.

This sounds like a classic recipe for a class action suit in the US, from system builders as well as end-users. This would be a helluva lot more expensive to settle than extending warranties on the dud drives to, say, two years. ®

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