The smaller they stand, the faster they rise -- or at least that has been the pattern among security software stocks over the last year or so.

So it stands to reason that Check Point Software Technologies (Nasdaq: CHKP) reported a fine quarter with both sales and earnings above Street estimates, yet the stock failed to jump sky-high on the news. After all, we're talking about a fairly large player in its industry, and a stock that already climbed a market-beating 13% since the last earnings report.

Check Point's sales rose 15% year-over-year to $281 million and non-GAAP earnings jumped 16% to $0.64 per share. It's hard to say whether these increases are a sign of larger or smaller market share for Check Point, as chief rivals Fortinet (Nasdaq: FTNT), Sourcefire (Nasdaq: FIRE), and Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) will report their results over the coming weeks (Check Point is the forerunner of its peers). McAfee's results are closer at hand, as Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) reports earnings next Tuesday and now treats its newly-acquired security business as the bulk of a new division.

Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz sees Check Point as a "no-brainer acquisition target," even with a market cap north of $10 billion. Security solutions are a very big deal nowadays and only getting bigger, so that makes plenty of sense for a deep-pocketed technology giant without a horse in the security race.                                                              

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) does sell network security products and services but would certainly welcome an extra helping of market credibility; Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) has the wherewithal and the end-to-end ambitions, and its software-based portfolio fits nicely with the worldview of new CEO Leo Apotheker.

And this quarter's high-quality results did nothing to hurt Check Point's chances of finding a buyer. I'm slapping a short-term "outperform" tag on Check Point in CAPS, in order to capture the buyout potential and generally strong business trends. Click here to play along!

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Check Point Software Technologies is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Check Point Software Technologies is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. The Fool has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Intel. Alpha Newsletter Account, LLC owns shares of Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.