Lenovo Recalls 50,500 ThinkCentre PCs for Fire Hazard

A faulty component in the all-in-one systems' power supplies poses a safety risk, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Lenovo is recalling about 50,500 desktop PCs that U.S. regulators say pose a fire hazard.

In an alert issued March 8, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Lenovo, the world€™s second-largest PC maker, agreed to recall ThinkCentre M70z and M90z all-in-one desktop systems due to a defect in an internal component in the power supply. The component can overheat, which could pose a fire hazard, according to the agency.

In the alert, the commission said that Lenovo had received two reports about problems in the United States€”one that involved a fire and another that was characterized as a €œsmoke incident.€ No injuries were reported.

The commission described the all-in-one systems as being €œflat-panel monitors with the PC integrated into the monitor housing itself. The power supplies are also inside the monitor or PC housing. The computer chassis has a matte-black finish with the brand name €˜ThinkCentre€™ in the lower left hand corner of the monitor front. The recalled desktop model numbers ... M90z and M70z ... along with the serial number and manufacturing date code can be found on a label on the underside of the unit.€

The commission said the recall affects only certain M70z and M90z desktops. The systems were sold between May 2010 and January. For the M70z, the date codes for the impacted systems are 1001 to 1012. For the M90z, the date codes are 1101 to 1112, 001 to 012, and 101 to 112.

Users should check the serial number of the system with Lenovo to determine if their PC is part of the recall, the agency€™s alert said. The affected systems were sold via Lenovo€™s Webites as well as by telephone and direct sales, the commission said.

€œConsumers should immediately stop using the computers, unplug the power supply and contact the firm to determine if your computer is included in the recall and to schedule an appointment for a free replacement of the power supply,€ the agency said.

Lenovo is No. 2 in a PC market that finds itself increasingly under pressure from a growing variety of other devices, in particular, tablets. According to market research firm Gartner, in 2011, Lenovo shipped more than 45.7 million PCs, second to Hewlett-Packard€™s 60.5 million. However, Lenovo€™s number represented a 19.7 percent increase over 2010. Meanwhile, HP saw its 2011 numbers drop 3.5 percent.

However, the PC market is seeing its overall numbers go up and down from quarter to quarter as tablets€”especially Apple€™s massively successful iPad€”flood the market. After two strong quarters in 2011, PC shipments in the fourth quarter fell 1.4 percent over the same period last year, thanks in large part to weakening consumer demand.

A number of high-profile tech figures€”most recently former Microsoft executive Ray Ozzie€”have said the industry is now in a €œpost-PC€ era, as consumers and businesses embrace such devices as tablets and smartphones for some of their computing needs. Others, including Intel CEO Paul Otellini, said they expect to see the PC market continue to expand, noting that the industry, on average, ships more than 1 million PCs a day.

In a March 8 report, Gartner analysts said they expect shipment this year to grow 4.4 percent, to 368 million units. However, in 2013, that number should grow to more than 400 million units, they said.

€œPC shipments will remain weak in 2012, as the PC market plays catch-up in bringing a new level of innovation that consumers want to see in devices they purchase,€ Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal said in a statement. €œThe real question is whether Windows 8 and Ultrabooks will create the compelling offering that gets the earlier adopter of devices excited about PCs again.€