Dell has agreed to buy music startup Zing, which makes software that allows digital music players to download music and stream live content without first linking to a personal computer. Zing provides the software for Sandisk's Sansa Connect wireless player and for Sirius' Stiletto 100.

Dell says the acquisition is part of its plan to expand its retail offerings and that it will use Zing to improve the entertainment experience that its products provide, reflecting the "renewed interest and energy being directed at its consumer business." In the past, Dell has been remarkably unsuccessful with handheld gadgets, though. Its own line of digital audio players, called Dell DJ, was quietly discontinued after failing to make a dent in Apple's crushing dominance in the portable player market.

The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Dell within a matter of weeks, which includes SilverBack Technologies, Asap Software and Zing, contrasting with the company's history of making very few acquisitions. Terms of the deal to acquire privately held Zing were not disclosed.