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Tuesday, March 28, 2000
Dell AP to replace glitchy memory chips in notebooks
"We notified our customers since early March and sent out a diagnostic diskette that will allow them to determine whether their notebook is affected. If affected, they will be given instructions on how to eliminate the possibility of data loss and how to contact us to have the memory replaced. This doesn't amount to a recall, " said Dell Asia Pacific spokesperson Judy Low.
Low declined to disclose how many notebooks in Asia Pacific may have been affected, although it is estimated 400,000 were shipped globally during the period.
"The most important thing now is the company knows when the units were shipped and the customers that may be affected. We are now taking appropriate measures," she said.
She also gave the assurance to customers that none of the notebooks purchased after November 1999 were affected.
The fault was discovered after customers reported their notebooks hung when put into sleep mode to conserve battery power. They were forced to switch off and restart the machines.
The Wall Street Journal on Friday identified that Micron Technology Inc was the errant supplier of the defective 32MB and 64MB random-access memory (RAM) chips and planned to provide replacements to Dell. Micron is expected to absorb the cost.
"Since discovering the issue, we have been working as quickly as possible to develop a solution which involves creating a test utility, training staff to handle customer enquiries, sourcing replacement memory modules and identifying all customers who may be impacted," said Low.
She said Asian customers affected can contact Dell's call center teams in Seoul, Korea; Xiamen, for China and Hong Kong markets; Sydney, for Australia and New Zealand markets; and Penang, its Asia Pacific Customer Center for the rest of Asia, including Japan. A support contact list is available at its Web site.
Penang and China host the direct-selling giant's two major manufacturing operations in Asia.
Citing IDC figures, Low said Dell is currently ranked No.6 in notebook shipments in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) in fourth quarter of 1999 with a 5.2 percent share, increasing over 89 percent from a year ago.
"Year-on-year our portables' growth is certainly very encouraging and positive," she said.
Dell Computer stock rose 13/16 Friday to US$51 1/4 after Paine Webber upgraded its rating to "buy" from "attractive" and raised its price target to US$78. Micron Technology closed down 3 5/8 from US$106 3/8 the same day.
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