I just got off the phone with Rahul Sood, founder of VoodooPC, who confirmed that the rumours of Voodoo's demise were not just premature but "nonsense," but said "HP is asking us to integrate into the larger execution engine." Rahul is comfortable speaking both plainly and in business-ese—what we take this to mean is that Voodoo will merge manufacturing with HP's core in Asia, unify other non-design aspects of the business, and shut down a good chunk of the operation in Calgary, Alberta. "Typically we don't comment on layoffs specifically," says Rahul, who adds that he himself will not be leaving Canada.
"We're basically plugging into the larger businesses," he says. "Notebooks will be manufactured and handled in Asia where there's much broader distribution. I can't just snap my fingers and have [the Envy and Omen]in Russia, Dubai and other places where people are begging for them. To scale the business and stay true to the brand, we have to structure it accordingly." Regarding layoffs, he did acknowledge: "There are definitely going to be people impacted. With any change, we have to take that impact in stride and keep pressing forward."
Rahul also addressed the concerns that some gamers had that Voodoo had abandoned its core audience. He surprised us with an interesting statistic: 25% of the Voodoo customer base are gamers, he says. The other 75% are "fortunate people who love the style and the fact that our products are so different." On the matter of the sleek new Envy not being a gaming PC at all, he mentions that it's not the first time, and that the hot-selling 12-inch Envy had integrated graphics too.
He stresses that the crazy Omen desktop and the Blackbird are both solid gaming platform. He also says that he's interested in the new directions that DIY enthusiast gamers will soon be taking. "The DIY enthusiast market will change," he says. "They're going to focus on more efficient computing rather than speeds and feeds, to bring more value to the end than just framerates. The DIY market will evolve—that's an opportunity for us to look into."
We have no idea what that might mean. Could it be a line of Voodoo-branded accessories? Or simply designing systems themselves with more DIY tweakbility in mind, like the Blackbird? Your guess is as good, or actually probably better, than mine, so go ahead and guess.