Massive recalls in the notebook market are nothing new. There were hundreds of thousands of notebooks from a variety of makers recalled in years past due to fire hazard from faulty batteries.
Sony has announced that there is a potential issue with about 535,000 Vaio laptops around the world that can lead to overheating. Sony reports that the issue has caused no injuries that it knows of, but there have been 39 complaints that notebooks have deformed from overheating.
The confusing part of this is that the AFP reports that Sony is issuing a software application that users can download to fix the issue. At the same time, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sony has issued a recall on affected machines. The WSJ reports 259k Vaio laptops are being recalled in the US, 103k in Europe, 120k in Asia, and 52k in Japan. I hope that we can get official word from Sony on what exactly is going on.
Update: According to Sony this isn't a recall but a BIOS update. Their software fix should address the overheating issue.