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Dell (s dell) said today it would pay $3.9 billion to purchase IT services company Perot Systems in a deal designed to help the computer giant compete as the business of supplying computer hardware becomes more entwined with offering services — from unified computing packages to fully-formed computing clouds. The industry has long criticized Dell for its poor services capabilities when compared with competitors such as IBM (s ibm) or HP (s hpq), and Dell CEO Michael Dell has been talking up the computing giant’s plans for game-changing acquisitions.
Dell has offered $30 per share in cash for Perot Systems. Peter Altabef, the current chief executive of Perot, will stay on to run Dell’s services business. The acquired company was founded in 1988 by Ross Perot, who twice ran for U.S. president. As part of this push to meld computing gear and services, HP last year purchased EDS, an IT services company that was also founded by Ross Perot, in 1962. He may have failed twice in his bid for presidency, but he’s twice managed to build businesses that can change the fates of computing giants.