Fujitsu recalls faulty hard disk drives

Fujitsu Ltd., one of Japan's major hard disk drive manufacturers, is recalling and replacing drives used in its own and other PC makers' desktop products sold in Japan, the company said Tuesday.

Faults were found in the hard disks' controller LSI (large-scale integration) chips, supplied by a third-party vendor, a Fujitsu spokesman said. The affected drives were manufactured between September 2000 and September 2001, he said.

Between 2 million and 3 million of 100 million hard disk drives manufactured by Fujitsu in the period may have a possibility of start-up problems when used in a high temperature and high humidity environment, the Fujitsu spokesman said.

Fujitsu will not disclose the names of PC makers that purchased its drives. It has been replacing faulty drives returned by these PC makers, the spokesman said.

NEC Corp. used about 180,000 Fujitsu drives that could be affected, according to NEC spokesman Yoshibumi Yashiro. About a third of those have already been recalled, he said.

Most of the drives were used in NEC's Mate desktop PC series, sold to enterprise users. The company has been contacting clients about the fault since October last year, he said. Other drives were used in the Value Star series of consumer desktop PCs. NEC made an announcement on its Web site on Sept. 9, offering free replacement upon request, he said.

As for Fujitsu's own products containing the faulty drives, the company announced the problem and started recalling the affected desktop PCs and PC servers, the FMV desktop PC series and the IA server Primergy series, on July 24, the Fujitsu spokesman said.

Japanese media reports put the cost to Fujitsu of the recalls at over ¥10 billion (US$82 million). "We haven't figured out how many units the company has replaced so far; however, we don't expect the cost will be that much," the Fujitsu spokesman said.