Apple Computer is to recall 1.8 million notebook batteries containing power cells made by Sony, US safety regulators have said, because they can potentially overheat and pose a fire risk.

This follows action by Dell, which recalled 4.1 million lithium-ion batteries last week - again with power cells made by Sony - after reports of laptops bursting into flames.

The Apple recall, which could cost Sony up to 30 billion yen ($258 million), comes after nine devices overheated, two of which are said to have caused minor burns to the users.

Apple will recall 1.1 million batteries sold with notebook computers in the US and 700,000 abroad, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

They were sold with Apple iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 computers from October 2003 through this month, according to the safety commission.

Apple had said last week after the Dell recall that it was reviewing its notebook batteries to ensure that they met its standards.

"The key message to consumers is these lithium-ion batteries can actually overheat and pose a fire hazard," said Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.