Dell makes services move, acquires company

Dell Computer Corp. last Friday acquired Plural Inc. to boost its services businesses in its second acquisition.

The company, who has said that it would make a number of small acquisitions to fill holes in its enterprise business infrastructure, would not disclose the terms of the deal.

Plural specializes in Windows NT and 2000-based e-commerce services and consulting and is expected to help Dell develop a larger professional services area. Plural had revenue in 2001 of US$46 million. Its president, Neil Isford, will join Dell. The company's 200 employees will boost the size of Dell's Americas Services division.

Plural's clients include Credit Suisse First Boston Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., FleetBoston Financial Corp., Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., Johnson & Johnson and Nabisco, among others.

The acquisition is Dell's second. An acquisition in 1999 of a storage virtualization company, Convergenet Technologies, for $340 million failed after Dell could not further develop their technology. In 2000, Dell took a $194 million charge related to research and development of Convergenet technology. Convergenet's technology allowed any type of server - Unix, Solaris, Linux or Windows NT - to connect to a storage array.

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