The move comes two months after the Round Rock, Texas-based PC maker, which built its business on direct sales of PCs to customers, announced that it would create a formal channel program. The channel program announcement followed declining market share for the company as well as rampant reports of poor customer service and support.
To counter its slide, Dell made significant moves early this year starting with the reinstatement of its founder Michael Dell as CEO. Since then the company has reshuffled executives, said direct sales were not a religion, and started selling its PCs in Wal-Mart.
Dell said in a statement that todays SilverBack deal was part of its ongoing strategy of "IT simplification." The company did not disclose terms of the deal and a spokesman declined to provide further comment on either when the deal might close. SilverBack will fall under Dells services division, the spokesman said.
Dell also declined to comment on whether the deal would be one of many, or whether it would be a one-off strategic move for the PC maker in the managed services space. The spokesman said the company planned to grow both organically and through acquisition, but declined to say if subsequent acquisitions would be in the channel space.
Bill Stewart, vice president of marketing at N-able Technologies, one of Silverbacks competitors, wondered if Dell purchased SilverBack to entice partners still searching for an MSP solution.
"What will be interesting is to see if Dell will use SilverBack as part of [its] own solution in competition with the MSP channel, like [its] recent Vostro announcement, or [if it] will they use SilverBack as way of wooing the channel." Stewart said.
SilverBack, based in Billerica, Mass., announced a distribution partnership with San Jose, Calif.-based Bell Micro last fall.
Dell has not released financial statements in more than a year due to both internal and external investigations of accounting irregularities within the company. In a deal struck last week, Dell narrowly avoided delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange due to its failure to file its reports.