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Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay...Should They?

By darinhamer ·
Toshiba is talking about having Sony pay not just for the batteries it has recalled, but also for damage to its brand image (see story at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=193302923 )

This seems to me like Toshiba is being opportunistic and trying to cash in on Sony's troubles. Sony has admitted that its batteries have a problem and is paying for the batteries and the costs of all the recalls. Since it has affected a number of computer manufacturers, it doesn't seem to me that Toshiba or any specific brand of computer is suffering a hit to their brand names. If anyone is suffering with regard to brand image, it is Sony.

In fact, I think that seeking damages against Sony in and of itself has the potential to cause consumers to have negative feelings toward the Toshiba brand. I would advise Toshiba to replace the batteries and just let it go.

What are others' thoughts on this?

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Well of course they are suffering

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay ...

and deservedly so as well.
They deserve that for the rootkit manouvre.

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My Take

by gsquared In reply to Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay ...

What I find interesting about the whole thing is pretty much every laptop manufacturer in the world wants to market that their computers will run longer than anyone else's, but it seems like all of them are using Sony batteries (the recal is huge).

I think Sony should be liable for any losses any of these companies actually experience. If, for example, a computer manufacturer is sued because of damage from a flaming laptop. Other than that, I don't see how Sony is liable.

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Entirely proper

by techrepublic2 In reply to Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay ...

I think it is entirely proper that Sony should be held liable for consequential damages the failure of their products cause their clients. It takes a long time and a lot of money to build a brand image of quality and reliability, recalls like this can only damage that.

The fact that a giant corporation like Toshiba has the clout and now the reason to give Sony the kicking it so richly deserves may offer a little succour to those of us that have suffered Sony's arrogance relating to appalling product support, abdication of warranty obligations and deliberate rootkit infections has absolutely nothing to do with my view on this. No Sir, absolutely not.

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Toshiba wants sony to pay

by sanjay In reply to Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay ...

NO way man toshiba are talking Non sence.Sony is not a small company they also have a name. I am using Toshiba and sony products.every one makes a mistake- infact SONY's name got spoilt bcoz of these crap batteries.Infact Toshiba should help sony and work hand in hand with Sony.Toshiba is being opportunistic and trying to cash in on Sony's troubles which does not leave a good impression about Toshiba.Both these companies are giants and should work hand in hand instead of killing each other.

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Got to love it

by lorenfoster In reply to Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay ...

Two Japanese companies fighting it out, almost makes you proud to be an American

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Sure Sony should pay Toshiba...

by GaijinIT In reply to Got to love it

Sony always touts itself as a seller of products of unrivaled quality. This is why many people trust their products. Forget about their arrogance towards their paying customers and their poor after sales supporot (this is not the case in Japan, I have had several Sony items replaced free, even after warranty expiration).

Sony simply dropped the ball on their production quality control, and there are no excuses for that. Cutting corners to make profits is no reason to get away with dumping crap on their partner companies and the paying public.

If this hurts their image, T.S., somebody has to suffer. Better it be the one who started it all than middlemen or the end users.

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Re:Sony-Toshiba

by ffly In reply to Sure Sony should pay Tosh ...

If Sony did cut corners and shipped products that it knew had problems, than YES it should Pay...

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Absolutely!

by jrkert In reply to Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay ...

To the extent that other damages can be quantified and proved Sony should pay. BUT it will be difficult to quantify "damage to brand image". In fact, in the article Fujitsu (which also recalled Sony batteries) said "We have not seen any clear evidence that we suffered from loss of potential sales or damage to our products' image."

Sounds like a long shot for Toshiba.

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OK. Agreed. Sony should pay, but...

by darinhamer In reply to Absolutely!

...does it make sense for Toshiba to pursue a law suit for brand image? I agree, Sony screwed up and it seems like they should pay anything that can be quantifiably related to their massive blunder. But, I don't think it makes good business sense for Toshiba to pursue other damages based on a perceived hit to their brand image. Here's why:

1. If Toshiba's brand image suffered due to the battery recall, it would be better to get the issue behind them as quickly as possible. Dragging it out will just cause greater damage to their brand image.

2. Because these batteries were used in many computer manufacturers' computers, Toshiba did not suffer a real hit to their brand image. If they had been the only ones who had batteries recalled, then I could see it, but because it also affected Dell, Apple, Fujitsu, and others, I think anyone who thinks about the problem will see the problem as Sony's and not Toshiba's.

3. The fact is, for all the stupid things that Sony has done, they seem to have stepped up here, taken responsibility for the batteries and are working closely with manufacturers to get them replaced timely. Of course this makes good business sense for Sony for a number of reasons, but it makes it much harder to prove Toshiba's claim.

4. I may have a differing opinion than others affected by this recall, but I have a Dell notebook that had one of the recalled batteries. Because it took much less time to get the battery replaced than they said, it really just didn't make any difference to me at all. In fact, it was kind of nice to get a new battery after a little over a year of use. It seems to perform better too. I certainly do not have any hard feelings toward Dell over this deal. I will likely purchase another notebook from Dell when the time comes. My point here is that if there is any brand image suffered, it may not be because of Sony's batteries because recalls happen and they seem to be handling this one pretty well. But if Toshiba is not handling the logistics of the recall itself very good, this could be the cause of the decline toward brand image. That would be a result of poor customer service and poor contingency planning (not saying theirs is bad, just that a hit to brand image might be due to these things).

I don't have any bias for or against any of these companies. If Sony's battery problems were a result of trying to cut corners, then hopefully Sony is learning a valuable lesson. But from a business standpoint, it seems like it would be better for Toshiba to replace the batteries quickly and seamlessly and then get it behind them. Instead it seems like perhaps they are claiming a hit to brand image that just doesn't exist in an effort to increase their cash flow. And if that is the case, they may really suffer a hit to brand image. In the long run, that could cost more than any money they can get out of Sony now. This is why I say they need to drop it.

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Engineering Risk Management

by plumley In reply to Toshiba Wants Sony to Pay ...

When Ford built the Explorer the design was wrong (i.e not wide enough) and the 'rollover' probelm was severe. An engineering fix was to run the tires underinflated. When warned by the tire manufacture that this would cause catastrophic failures (blowouts at speed) the Ford people decided that an occasional accident was cheaper than redesigning a complete line of cars (trucks).

For Toshiba to say that the Sony battery problem damaged their reputation is naive at best, and deliberately misleasing at worst. They chose Sony batteries, like many other companies, because it was cheaper than making batteries themselves and cheaper than trying to import batteries from another country. The decisions were budget based and childish finger pointing now is just a cheap shot.

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