Let the Dell/Palm Rumors Begin

delle Dell is looking to make acquisitions, according to one of its executives, who made the comment a day after the computer maker reported dismal earnings for its latest fiscal quarter, IDG News said today. Steve Felice, president of Dell’s small and medium business unit, said during a conference call with reporters that the computer company was looking at ways to expand and had a “desire to increase activity for inorganic growth.” In other words, Dell wants to buy stuff.

Dell hasn’t made many acquisitions, and of those that it has made, few have been game-changers, with the exception of its EqualLogic buy. Still, it didn’t take long for the IDG article to throw out Palm as a potential target. In the tech world this may be the equivalent of Brangelina — a sexy yet beneficial combination in light of Dell’s consumer and smartphone aspirations and Palm’s floundering business but solid reputation for innovative, user-friendly products. The possibility of a tie-up between the two was first floated in April 2007, after Dell killed its line of PDAs, and again in March 2009, after analysts pushed the idea. Since then, it’s never really strayed too far from the collective consciousness of the tech blogosphere. For those who may appreciate the sex appeal of Dell buying Palm, but would rather see Dell stick to what it knows, Barron’s posted a list back in December (which was the last time Dell said it wanted to buy companies), that included five data center-focused companies. Two of them, Sun Microsystems and DataDomain, have since been snapped up by Oracle and NetApp, respectively. So we’re left with Commvault, a backup play, and Compellant or 3Par, both of which are focused on storage technology.

As a bonus, check out Om’s interview last July with Michael Dell.

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