Toshiba's Biggest Worry About Exploding Batteries Is Its Brand?

from the aren't-there-more-important-things? dept

Toshiba is one of a long, long list of laptop makers who has had to recall batteries made by Sony. However, Toshiba somehow seems to think this is all about them. They’re considering suing Sony over the problems — not, mind you, for the potential danger it put their customers in, but for the damage to Toshiba’s brand. That, of course, assumes that anyone actually considers this a Toshiba problem. With just about every other major laptop maker being hit with the same problems, it’s pretty difficult to see this impacting Toshiba’s brand any harder than anyone else’s. In fact, it’s Sony’s brand that’s getting slammed throughout the whole thing. To be honest, about the biggest slam on Toshiba’s brand seems to be the fact that they’re more concerned about their own brand than on the fact that their laptops might explode and put their customers in danger.

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Comments on “Toshiba's Biggest Worry About Exploding Batteries Is Its Brand?”

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Bandito says:

The average consumer

Will the average consumer recognize that this is a Sony issue? My guess is that Toshiba customers who are issued a battery recall from Toshiba will actually perceive this as a Toshiba issue. Just like Dell customers will perceive this as a Dell issue, etc. That’s not to say that Toshiba should be suing Sony any more than any of the other laptop manufacturers should, but I don’t think you can slag Toshiba for being concerned about their brand’s perception.

Sanguine Dream says:

Re: The average consumer

Not too far off base there. The first round of recalls that I heard about were for Dell and I thought it was a Dell problem but then over the last several weeks more and more recalls have been announced with the point being made that they were all Sony batteries. They could have just used all the publitcity they are paying for (minus the cost of court) and to proclaim that the Sony batteries are at fault. And if Sony were dumb enough to deny it there are more than enough big tech companies to bear witness to the fact that it is indeed a faulty Sony battery at work.

SomeOneElse (user link) says:

The "Average" Consumer

Well, to be completely honest, it is NOT Toshiba that should be suing for this, but Dell… Thier laptop users were the first victim of this issue, the news about bad Dell laptop batteries has been all over the news, and the average consumer is, well, a pretty fickle beast when it comes to remembering the actual details of things. Almost everyone I talk to still thinks this is a Dell only issue (because that is what was in the news first, and they tune out repeat news about this subject now), and so they think thier Toshiba, Sony or other non-Dell laptops are fine, when it is actually just as likely to affect them as well. Ironic then, that it is Toshiba that is suing first, and not Dell (although I expect them to eventually sue as well).

John (user link) says:

Well actually it is

It really is a Dell problem, a Toshiba problem, an Apple problem as they all sourced a part and sold it as their product.

If Ford or GM has a recall none of us blame the actual part maker but the automotive company we purchased the car from. It really is the responsibility of the company Toshiba etc. to maintain constant quality sampling and testing on parts from outside vendors.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don’t buy it Mike. I don’t see how any insightful person could claim that just because they’re suing over the brand and NOT over the risk factor means they don’t care about their customers. That’s a reach and sounds like you’re tryin’ too way to hard.

It is quite conceivable that they don’t have any legal argument when suing for “potential harm” but have a good case with harm to the brand. Seems pretty dumb to piss on them for this when suing for something that ‘could have happened’ in U.S. courts would obviously go nowhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not that I’m a Toshiba fan, but they can’t sue for the danger that their customers were put in. Company A cannot sue Company B for the danger that Company B put Company A’s customers in. The only person that can so for that is the customer itself. It probably has to sue Toshiba directly since they are the provider of the defective hardware and then Toshiba can sue Sony directly for damages. But otherwise, Toshiba cannot sue except for damage to Toshiba, which is probably best described as damages to the brand.

They can probably make a good case that customers won’t buy their brand anymore because they’re afraid that yet another battery would explode (even if the battery is from Joe Shmo company). A customer may blame Toshiba for not performing proper quality assurance or something similar.

ollymock says:


Having spent over a dozen years working for a variety of Japanese companies in Japan, I see this action as being very Japanese. As many of the posters have outlined, the average Joe consumer (in the Americas, at least) will have absolutely no idea that Toshiba products are run on Sony batteries, thus having considerable impact on the Toshiba brand name. This type of ‘character defamation’ suite is standard practice over there and Toshiba will without doubt in my mind win hands down in any court of law in the Land of the Rising Sun. This debate, is in effect, non-debatable if the procedings are carried out over there; hands down victory for Toshiba!

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