More bad press for Dell - the company has been forced to recall some 4.1 million notebook batteries after it came to light that they could overheat and pose a fire hazard. The recall is thought to be the biggest in the company's 22-year history. The lithium-ion batteries could, in some cases, actually produce smoke and catch fire. The recall of batteries in machines sold from April 2004 through to last month spans the company's notebook lines, including Latitude, Inspiron and Precision models.

Spokesman Ira Williams said: "In rare cases, a short-circuit could cause the battery to overheat, causing a risk of smoke and fire. It happens in rare cases, but we opted to take this broad action immediately."
As yet, no injuries have been reported, but the company has received six reports of batteries overheating, which has led to damage being done to furniture and other personal belongings.

"When you consider the 22 million notebooks that we have shipped in that time period, a very small number of batteries have been involved in any kind of incident," company spokesman Jess Blackburn said.
The recall comes at a bad time for Dell, who have been trying to get their image back on track, and spending $US100 million this year trying to improve service in the US. Things have been poor for the company on Wall Street of late, with their stock falling 47 per cent over the past 12 months.

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