Just a couple months after introducing what has proven to be its first serious move to embrace the channel, Dell surprised the market with its first major acquisition.
That acquisition, iSCSI pioneer EqualLogic, closed in January, and got attention for several reasons. It made Dell a leader in a technology that it did not resell or OEM from others. It gave Dell an instant, ready-made channel to go to with its new channel strategy. It took the company a half-year or so to convince key EqualLogic solution providers to commit to working with Dell's EqualLogic products, but Dell did win them over.
The acquisition also made Dell an instant competitor to its biggest storage partner, EMC. Dell's portion of EMC's sales revenue since the acquisition has started falling, although both companies will say all's well.
At $1.4 billion, the acquisition was considered by many to be expensive, but Dell had to go that high to beat potential competitors, especially HP, which is rumored to have also been in the running.