Dell Buys Services Company Plural

Dell Computer has acquired privately-held Plural Inc., a Web application development and services company that employs about 200 people in five U.S. offices.

Dell Computer Corp. confirmed today that it has acquired privately-held Plural, Inc., a Web application development and services company.

Details about agreement and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. New York-based Plural employs about 200 people in five U.S. offices.

A Dell spokesman said the acquisition was a continuation of the computer makers efforts to expand its services offerings.

"The Plural organization specializes in Microsoft [Corp.] IT consulting and application development and its a good complement to Dells existing capabilities," said Mike Maher, a spokesman for the computer maker, based in Round Rock, Texas.

Representatives of Plural were not immediately available for comment.

Dell had not released any announcement of the buyout, but news of the acquisition leaked out after the computer maker informed its employees of the deal this morning.

Dell isnt the only tech company looking to broaden its portfolio with integration services as of late. Microsoft has been rumored for some time to be on the cusp of snapping up a systems integration vendor.

In a deal it has yet to announce publicly, Microsofts Middle East division recently invested an undisclosed amount in a Jordanian IT consulting company, Estarta Solutions. Estarta employs more than 200 consultants, and specializes in customized solutions for telecommunications, government, banking and finance, and e-business customers, says Mohammed Kateeb, managing director with Microsoft Middle East, headquartered in Dubai.

Kateeb says that customers in the Middle East have lagged behind their North American and European counterparts in terms of moving to enterprise computing. Now that they are ready to do so, Microsoft needs "strong partners" like Estarta, he adds.

Estarta was formed by a merger of two software/services companies Zeine Technological Applications and One World Jordan. Microsoft and the Foursan Group, a Middle Eastern venture firm, announced their investment on May 20.

Microsoft is one of Estartas customers. Estarta has experience with a number of Microsoft technologies, as well as with wireless, Java, embedded development and other up-and-coming areas.

Additional Reporting by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft Watch.