Dell has acquired the U.S.-based $200 million revenue networking company Force 10 Networks. Force10 Network's Chennai research and development team will be significantly ramped up over the next 12 months to play a crucial part for Dell's networking business.

Force10 at present had 270 people in the Chennai R&D team. This will be doubled in 12-18 months, said Dario Zamarian, Vice-President and General Manager, Dell Networking. The global networking market was pegged at $6 billion and this was expected to grow to $16 billion by 2016.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Suresh Vaswani, Executive Vice-President, Dell Services, and Chairman of Dell India, said India was playing a strategic part in driving Dell's transformation globally into a solutions and services enterprise. Chennai was a crucial growth engine from three view-points such as manufacturing, services and R&D. With the acquisition of Perot Systems, Chennai was a key centre for Dell Services and with the takeover of Force10, the Chennai R&D team would make foray into networking. Dell expected the transaction to be accretive to earnings in the second-half of next year. It would also hire several hundred new team members in engineering, sales and marketing.

The company was scouting for acquisition opportunities in India to consolidate its position. The Force 10 Networks acquisition might result in manufacturing of some networking products at Dell's factory in Chennai. Apart from serving the domestic market, Dell's Chennai unit serves as an export base for the $1.4-billion company, catering mainly to the Middle East markets, said Mr. Vaswani.

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