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By Brenon Daly

As a relative latecomer to the M&A market, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) is making up for lost time. The company on Thursday announced its third acquisition of the week, reaching for Vancouver-based Make Technologies. Both Make and Clerity Solutions, which Dell picked up on Tuesday, produce migration software and will be slotted into the services division. Dell's other purchase of the week was thin-client technology vendor Wyse Technology.

The recent frenetic M&A activity by the Austin, Texas-based company represents a dramatic reversal from its historic practice. For the first 30 years of its life, Dell rarely acquired anything. It only really started its M&A program in mid-2007 - a point by which many rivals already had consolidated broad patches of the tech landscape. While Dell sat out of the market, IBM (NYSE:IBM), for instance, had already purchased more than 60 companies, buying its way into storage, document management, security and other areas. In the same period, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) gobbled up some 40 companies.

But it's a different story so far this year. With five deals notched already in 2012, Dell has more transactions than IBM and Oracle combined. The contrast is even sharper with Dell's nemesis Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), which has yet to print a deal in 2012. In fact, just looking at the acquisitions that Dell has inked recently, many of them appear designed to bolster offerings where Dell goes up against its reeling rival, such as networking, security and storage.

Dell deals

YearNumber of transactions
2012, YTD5
20113
20107
20094
20081
20076
20062
20050
Source: Dell Picks Up The Pace