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Microsoft beefs up hardware division with $3 billion Dell buyout - report

CNBC sources point to mega-investment

Uncle M is reportedly about to splurge a mighty $3 billion on tablet and PC manufacturer Dell, in what would, if true, prove a dramatic statement of intent as regards hardware in general.

The story comes care of CNBC and its anonymous sourcery. The alleged sum would give Microsoft a controlling share of the company, thus granting it direct access to a world of tablets, phones and laptops.

The ramifications for Microsoft's console business could be no less considerable. The company has made no bones of the fact that it sees the distribution of services like Xbox Live across a range of devices (via schemes like Xbox SmartGlass) as key to future success.

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Microsoft has already begun sharing content across from Xbox to its new Surface tablet, and has recently acquired patents for a unified household control technology.

Associated documents summarise the latter as: "a portable controller allows a user to access and control the network devices from any location within a controlled residential and/or non-residential environment, including its surrounding areas. The controllers are enhanced to support location-awareness and user-awareness functionality."

What do you make of it all?

UPDATE: As pointed out by CunningSmile, Dell's founder has bought the company back, via a consortium made up of Michael Dell himself, his investment fund and investment group Silver Lake. Microsoft apparently loaned Dell $2 billion for this purpose. The plot thickens...

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