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HP issues statement on Compaq Fujitsu HDD failures

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Last week we reported a product recall - sorry replacement - of 300,000 faulty Fujitsu hard drives (possibly only in Japan. Fujitsu is not saying).

Dozens of Compaq corporate customers, collectively owning a few tens of thousands of Compaq Deskpros, contacted us following our initial report. Time and again, we were told of failure rates of 30 per cent and above in machines fitted with 20GB Fujitsu HDDs.

This was very different from the story told in Japan by Fujitsu, where it spoke of a failure rate of 2-3 per cent of a production run of 10 million hard drives. So how many 20GB drives were there in this 10m run?

We asked HP, Compaq's new owner, for a response. It took more than 72 hours for the company's US offices to furnish us with this reply. Which we publish in full.

"HP is currently investigating reports of problems with Fujitsu Hard Disk Drives. Until our investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate to speculate as to which, if any, products are affected. We will update all relevant parties as the investigation continues."

There we have it, a genuine strangulated lawyer-throttled admit-nothing reply.

We are surprised that HP/Compaq has to do any investigation. Surely it has some whizzy audit software in place which can pull out a near-time RMA report? Compaq has been replacing Fujitsu HDDs in their thousands. Its engineers know what the problem is. But how long did the company know about this without communicating the fact to its customers?

Sometimes silence is not golden. Especially when product liability suits are in the air. ®

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