Silver Lake has played an increasingly significant role in technology investing over the last few years. Now that the Meno Park, Calif. private equity firm has raised a $10.3 billion fund, called Silver Lake Partners IV, which it says is the largest PE fund focused on tech ever, all eyes will be on the firm. For starters, will Silver Lake succeed in its $24.4 billion bid to take private Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)? In Silver Lake's favor, its co-bidder is none other than Michael Dell, who pioneered direct sales in the personal computer business by selling upgrade kits for PCs out of his dorm room at the University of Texas at Austin, back in the early 1980s, when PCs were sold primarily through the retail channel.
Today, the question is, can anyone can save Dell now that PCs have long been commoditized and when consumers are choosing smartphones and tablets over desktops and laptops?