Dell is planning on going head-to-head with the business email services provided by Microsoft and Google.

Dell is to buy business email services provider MessageOne Inc, which was co-founded by Michael Dell's brother.

MessageOne's software, which is delivered to customers over the Internet, helps companies manage and archive email, minimise outages and prevent data losses, Dell said in a statement.

Steve Schuckenbrock, Dell's chief information officer told Reuters: "It simplifies (information technology) for our customers".

"It will compete up against solutions that are emerging in the market from companies like Google, like Microsoft and others."

Reuters adds that Google paid $625 million last year for email security firm Postini to beef up its online "Google Apps" service.

The Dell deal, which is reported to have been for $155 million, is the latest in a recent wave of acquisitions by the computing giant ranging from software company Everdream to Dell's $1.4 billion purchase in November of network storage provider EqualLogic.

Dell said MessageOne is owned in part by two investment funds: Impact Venture Partners and Impact Entrepreneurs Fund.

Dell founder and chief executive Michael Dell and his family are investors in the funds, which are managed by his brother, Adam Dell.

Dell said it expects Michael Dell, his wife Susan and their children's trust to receive about $12 million from the deal.

Adam Dell will get about $970,000 and his parents will receive about $450,000.

Michael Dell, who was not involved in negotiating this deal, intends to donate his proceeds from the sale to charity.