This month, after a heated bidding war, Dell acquired Aliso Viejo, California–based Quest Software for $2.4 billion in cash at $28.00 per share. It is the ninth acquisition for the Round Rock, Texas–based personal computing company since the start of 2011. Other companies it recently scooped up include San Jose, California–based manufacturer of thin computers Wyse in May and San Jose–based Ethernet switching manufacturer Force10 in August 2011.

Dell is now looking to build a $5 billion software enterprise over the long term to complement its hardware and cloud computing offerings. The ambitious goal, set out earlier this month by Dell Software head John Swainson, will diversify its PC-reliant revenues  although it still will not be close to Microsoft’s juggernaut of over $17 billion in software sales.

Gartner, a Stamford, Connecticut–based technology research company, estimates that revenues from software-as-a-service, or cloud software, will increase by 18 percent this year. That compares to analyst estimates of about 3 percent for hardware sales. Dell may have difficulty grabbing that growth, however. Its sales have been declining in all segments, government and corporate, except with small-to-medium enterprises.

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