RealTime IT News

MessageOne Acquisition Continues Dell's Makeover

Dell on Tuesday acquired MessageOne, an on-demand e-mail archiving and disaster recovery company, for $155 million as the computer maker continues its evolution beyond the PC to provide more software-as-a-service SaaS offerings for enterprise customers.

MessageOne's E-mail Management Services (EMS) and AlertFind applications provide e-mail management, archiving and disaster recovery services via the Internet.

The all-cash deal is expected to close in Dell's current fiscal quarter.

"This acquisition fills a major element of what we've been driving for from a service and, particularly, software-as-a-service perspective," David Lord, a Dell spokesman, said in an interview with InternetNews.com. "When you look at e-mail, it's the No. 1 business-critical application for most companies, and MessageOne is a leading provider of SaaS-based e-mail continuity solutions."

[cob:Related_Articles]Tuesday's acquisition is just the latest in a string of service-related acquisitions for Dell following the January 2007 return of founder and longtime CEO Michael Dell to the company's top post.

In November Dell made a $1.4 billion acquisition of EqualLogic, an iSCSI storage vendor, to target the SMB storage market. That same month, it picked up Everdream, a leading provider of SaaS-based software for remote service management.

Last summer, the company paid $340 million for ASAP Software, a leading vendor of licensing and e-commerce services for software publishers and snapped up managed service provider Silverback as part of its Simplify IT mantra.

"Dell is trying to provide of range of software-as-a-service offerings and it makes sense," Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, told InternetNews.com. "We're seeing more of a hybrid model emerging with both on-premise and hosted application in the enterprise."

According to Osterman, interest in SaaS from small and midsize companies as well as large enterprise customers positions Dell's hardware well for many years.

Cloud-based e-mail archiving, security and governance applications are becoming increasingly popular as either primary or backup options for corporate e-mail systems, and vendors aren't wasting any time staking their claim.

In July, Google paid $625 million for Postini, an on-demand provider of software and services to encrypt, archive and enforce policies for e-mail, instant messaging and other Web-based communications.

Not to be outdone, Yahoo in September paid $350 million for Zimbra, a provider of e-mail and collaboration software.

Osterman said Dell could benefit from adding a messaging security component to its on-demand portfolio down the road, citing Englewood, Co.-based MX Logic as one possible target.