October 31, 2008, 10:59 AM — Some companies seem plagued by idiot vice presidents and can never recover from major screw ups, such as Sony and their laptop batteries. Well, these companies recover in a way, since they don't go out of business or their executives get sent to jail, but they don't fix their decision making processes that caused the first blunder, so they keep blundering along.
Forgiving Sony is hard, because some (at least me) are still upset over their music division putting rootkits on CDs a few years ago. Play a legally purchased CD in a legal way (on your PC) and then get a serious rootkit infestation. Then Sony messed up laptop battery manufacturing two years ago, calling into question whether Sony executives have a clue about quality or customer service. Now they have another 100,000 batteries to recall.
Worse, the interdependence between technology companies makes it hard to punish one misbehaving company by avoiding their products. According to the headline of the ComputerWorld story "HP, Dell, Toshiiba Recall Sony Laptop Batteries Again," we know immediately that bypassing Sony Vaio laptops doesn't keep us safe from poorly-made Sony batteries.
For reasons like this, be sure and fill out the registration information for new laptop and desktop computers. Both are priced low enough today that many feel the registration process will just invite more spam, but recalls happen. If you didn't register your HP, Dell, or Toshiba laptop, pay careful attention to the recall information provided by ComputerWorld. The laptop you save from frying may be your own.