Ah, Dell. The famous PC manufacturer and temporary OEM partner with Microsoft on Windows Phone. The company has previously stated that there are no plans to support the smartphone industry and that it would continue to primarily focus on the PC market, but now Microsoft is reportedly in talks to participate in a deal to take Dell private, according to CNBC.
As an important partner, Microsoft views Dell highly with how the company has contributed to building a successful Windows PC ecosystem. According to CNBC's sources, Microsoft could be looking to invest $1-3billion in the deal and is in talks with Silver Lake and Michael Dell, who are working on said deal. It's also reported that Microsoft's investment would be mezzanine, or some sort of preferred shares.
The ability to get the necessary dosh in place to take Dell private is a difficult task, and is one which Microsoft could help out with. The company has also invested in other properties, including the likes of Facebook and Apple (back when it was struggling).
There's an issue with this potential deal as should Microsoft become an investor in Dell, it could hold influence over business, preventing potential reforms and new models. Not only that, but how would the rest of Microsoft's PC crew feel about such a deal? Would Acer, HP, Asus, Lenovo all cheer the company on?
We have to also look at this from a Windows Phone perspective. Dell has said it has no plans to head back into mobile anytime soon, but should Microsoft pump money into such a project being undertaken -- for Dell to produce Windows Phone 8 hardware -- we could well see some sparks of life. Dell Venue Pro II, anyone? With the Dell partnership, Microsoft would then have also have a foothold in the PC market.
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out and what Microsoft would have planned post-closure of the deal.