Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) is apparently about to go shopping.

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal claims that the company is looking to acquire a "significant-sized company," according to someone who has spoken to CEO Michael Dell.

The paper suggests that Dell wants to expand in the area of data storage or tech services, but don't go making room on the Data Domain (NASDAQ:DDUP) porch for yet another interested suitor.

The Dallas Morning News is cutting to the chase in its tech blog, where it proposes that the company should be building up a $10 billion war chest to snap up Palm (NASDAQ:PALM).

Sounds great in theory. Dell has been rumored to be trying to get some skin in the smartphone market, but doing so has never made a whole lot of sense.

"Why does Dell believe it has a chance in the high-end wireless market?" I wrote five months ago. "Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is in too deep and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is way too cool."

The poor man's approach would be to simply lean on the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) mobile operating systems, but that's a bad bet for Dell. Being a "me too" hardware player in a crowded niche -- outside of its computing strengths -- has been a losing proposition for Dell in the past. A logical foray into portable media players did not end well.

In steps Palm. Last week's successful debut of the Pre is turning heads. Unlike Research In Motion or Apple, Palm's current $2.4 billion in enterprise value wouldn't break Dell's bank, even with a healthy buyout premium. The deal would be highly dilutive, with Palm unlikely to turn a profit until fiscal 2011 at the earliest, but it would earn the meandering computing giant some necessary style points. It would also put a promising mobile platform -- Palm's webOS -- in Dell's eager paws.

The problem is that it's hard to see Palm cashing out now. The stock has been better than a 10-bagger for investors who picked up the stock near December's bottom. This week's regime change at the top is hardly indicative of a company interested in an exit strategy. If Dell had a shot, and at a great price, that time would have been six months ago.

The ship has sailed. If Dell is able to nab a desperate Palm later this year, it will be because the Pre cooled off after its brisk initial sales. Dell wouldn't want that Palm anyway, just as Palm isn't likely to be interested in saying "I do" to Dell today.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pecked out this article on a Dell laptop, though most of his computing devices are HP- or Apple-flavored. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this article and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.