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Thursday, September 07, 2006, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

Apple to repair shutdown-plagued MacBooks under warranty

Apple Computer has acknowledged that a problem exists with some of its Intel MacBooks where the notebook computers may intermittently shut down, but has vowed to fix those systems free of charge.

"Some MacBooks may shut down intermittently under normal use," the Mac maker wrote in a memo to some of its service providers this week. "If this issue occurs on your customer's MacBook and the computer meets certain requirements, Apple will cover replacement of the affected parts under warranty."

For more details on the repair program, Apple told providers to check this knowledge base article, which ironically contains only the following line: "If your MacBook is shutting down intermittently, please contact AppleCare for service."

Complaints from disgruntled owners of the 13-inch widescreen notebooks began pouring into online forums in recent weeks, all claiming that their new Apple notebooks would "randomly" lose power and shut down. The uproar also fueled the creation of a Web site purely dedicated to bringing attention to the issue, appropriately titled MacBookRandomShutdown.com.

In its memo to service providers, Apple mandates that affected MacBooks be repaired with a matching logic board and heatsink set. This new logic board and heatsink combo part should be available to service providers by the end of this week, the company said.

In the meantime, Apple is channeling all "business-critical" MacBook repairs through its Austin, Texas repair depot for a faster turnaround times. Individual customers who filed complaints with AppleCare have also been able to send their machines into the depot, but some have been waiting in excess of one week to get their computers back.