Re: @Mephistro (tl;dr)
"There was no infamous brouhaha back then"
You know that the word 'infamous' has several meanings, don't you? And I remember reading about this particular SNAFU in some computer magazine several months after the fact, and reading comments in forums during the 2000 outbreak of bad capacitors. So it wasn't the Capacitorgeddon, but neither was it a trivial matter.
Capacitor failures have happened since their invention, for any number of underlying reasons
Yeah, but if you see at least one of them -probably more- failing in every mobo served by a company, you can safely conclude that said company's quality testing process is crap.
And an equipment vendor that'll repair things outside the warranty period is a rare sight
Actually, the failures happened always in the first fortnight after purchase, with two systems being directly DOA. The replacement machines exhibited the same behaviour. The amount of work we had to do in order to move the data and reinstall the OS's was simply unbelievable.
Must be a truly known and endemic issue (like it was in 200x) to get free service.
Not in Europe. And I thought that the USA had similar rules, but I might be wrong. The reseller finally took away the systems and reimbursed my customer, after receiving a copy of the technical report and letter from the company's lawyer.
"15-20 years is a very long time..."
Sure. But I operate following a simple rule: No company screws me twice, if I can prevent it. The incident related in TFA seems to hint strongly towards Lenovo's current management having the same philosophy the company had in the nineties.
Seriously, the most infamous -or disgraceful, if you prefer- part about this incident is the way Lenovo tried to elude their responsibility. At first, they claimed the issue was caused by failures in the customer's leccy supply and/or the grounding. Luckily, the customer's electrical installation had been certified a few weeks before the purchase, so Lenovo and the reseller had to look for a different explanation.
The next step was a meeting full of weaselspeak where they hinted -without saying it clearly- that the affected computers had been sabotaged. We had none of it, of course, and shortly after sent one of the units to an electronics firm for the forensic examination.
After the events, I learned that other people had been having the same issues MONTHS BEFORE MY CUSTOMERS ORDERED THE MACHINES!!!
When Lenovo acquired IBM's PC division, my first reaction was of incredulity and a lot of profanity. ;-)