Reports are that Microsoft is looking into supporting private-equity company Silver Lake Partners with an attempt to buy Dell from its shareholders. Microsoft could potentially front $2 billion of the deal's $22 billion, with the rest of the money coming from Silver Lake, Dell's cash reserves and owner Michael Dell's 16 percent stake in the PC manufacturer.
Microsoft could use this investment similar to what it has done with Nokia and Barnes & Noble's Nook to influence hardware to suit their purposes. While it could give Microsoft more control over the PCs that use their software (something the company is conscious of after the Windows 8 release) it could potentially strain relationships with other important hardware partners the way the announcement of the Surface tablet did.
Source: Wall Street Journal