A fifth of business laptops break within a year

Some 20 per cent of laptops brought by businesses are repaired within a year, costing UK companies over two billion quid in repair bills and lost productivity, if a survey published today is to be believed.

The research suggests that 14 per cent of laptops are damaged by accidents, the most common being falling off a desk.

According to a bit of jiggery-pokery with the numbers, researcher IDC reckons these are repaired at a cost to the company of £1,576 to cover "parts, lost productivity and data."

The research was commissioned by Paansonic, which wants to flog ruggedised laptops to clumsy users. Together it and IDC make a case claiming that damaged laptops will cost British business £2.073 billion in repair and data replacement costs in 2010.

IDC gets its figures from a survey of 300 US companies. It reckons is sees a similar picture on this side of the pond. Who's to say the british executives aren't more carefull than their American cousins?

The pair say the cost does not include "effects to business continuity, lost business or customer dissatisfaction". But is has pumped up the numbers with a finger-in-the-air cost for "lost productivity".

Obviously, if all the 9.265 million laptops sold to British businesses between 2007 and 2009 had been ruggedised Panasonics only six per cent of these would have to be repaired this year - except those that weren't ruggedised enough for the fate that hypothetically befell them.

In the survey, 72 per cent of respondents with damaged notebooks reported that they suffered damaged keyboards, followed by 66 per cent with damage to the display screen. Non-exposed parts most prone to damage included batteries and hard disk drives, both cited by more than 50 per cent of respondents

Human error and carelessness were responsible for the greatest sources of damage with 72 per cent of respondents saying they dropped their laptops, 66 per cent spilling liquid onto the devices and 55 per cent reporting they fell from a desk or table.

The departments most likely to damage their laptops were field services, followed by office and administrative support and sales.