Dell is one company that is convinced that there are going to be plenty of companies ready to upgrade to Vista. The company has bought ACS, a British IT services firm, and plans to offer consulting to large businesses as they upgrade to Microsoft 's new Vista operating system.

Dell will use ACS to offer IT support earlier in the planning stages of customers' application deployments, such as migrating to Microsoft Vista, said Stephen Murdoch, vice president of solutions and services for Dell's EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) division.

Business customers have been demanding better services in virtualisation, security and Microsoft products. Dell hopes to meet that need with ACS, which specialises in tailoring software installation routines to meet customer's needs. Dell now plans to extend that "application packaging" service outside the UK, offering it to customers worldwide, the company said.

ACS was founded in 1990, and has offices in London, Paris, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, and Pune, India. The company focuses on the financial and government sectors.

This move is another step in Dell's effort to rescue its slumping financial results by improving customer service. Dell has missed its earnings targets for recent quarters, has had to recall laptop batteries and is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its financial reporting practices.

The company has made several changes to recover, launching a line of computers based on AMD chips instead of Intel and pledging to spend US$100 million to improve customer service by opening new call centres.

Original reporting by IDG news service