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Dell buys IT services firm to ease Vista upgrades

Will retain all ACS employees

Dell has acquired a British IT services firm, with plans to offer consulting to large businesses as they upgrade to Microsoft's new Vista OS (operating system).

Dell said today it acquired ACS of London, a privately held firm that provides infrastructure consulting to businesses listed on the FTSE 100, a stock index of England's largest corporations. Dell did not disclose the deal's cost, but said it would retain all ACS employees.

The company will use ACS to offer IT support earlier in the planning stages of customers' application deployments, such as migrating to Microsoft Vista, according to a statement from Stephen Murdoch, vice-president of solutions and services for Dell's EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) division.

Business customers have been demanding better services in virtualisation, security and Microsoft products. Dell hopes to meet that need with ACS, which specialises in tailoring software installation routines to meet customer's needs. Dell now plans to extend that "application packaging" service outside the UK, offering it to customers worldwide, the company said.

ACS was founded in 1990, and has offices in London, Paris, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Pune, India. The company focuses on the financial and government sectors.

This move is another step in Dell's effort to rescue its slumping financial results by improving customer service. Dell has missed its earnings targets for recent quarters, was embroiled in a massive recall of laptop PC batteries in August and is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its financial reporting practices.

The company has made several changes to recover, launching a line of computers based on chips from AMD instead of Intel and pledging to spend $100m (about £53m) to improve customer service by opening new call centres.


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