Rumor: HP shutting down Voodoo?

Report says e-mail announcing layoffs is circulating at the company, though the report doesn't include a specific number of jobs being cut.

This blog has been updated with comments from HP.

A rumor is circulating that Hewlett-Packard is closing the gaming PC outfit it bought just two years ago.

The report comes from a blog called Techgage, which cites an "insider close to the situation," who reports an e-mail announcing layoffs is circulating at the company, though the report doesn't include a specific number of jobs being cut. It also reports that Voodoo is returning parts to its supplier.

HP Voodoo
Voodoo Envy 133 notebook Hewlett-Packard

HP spokeswoman Marlene Somsak said it would be "incorrect" to say HP is shutting down Voodoo, but didn't offer a denial that jobs will be or have been cut.

"We continually assess and rebalance the size of our work force relative to the business environment and market conditions," she said. Beyond that, she said HP had no comment.

"Shutting down" Voodoo seems more than a bit odd for several reasons. First, it's a brand that HP has had high hopes for. The company just recently announced its most ambitious Voodoo-branded products--the Envy 133 notebook and the Omen desktop--which are just beginning to ship.

Second, on the blog entry used to announce that the Envy 133 started shipping to customers, Voodoo co-founder and HP gaming exec Rahul Sood said the company had "a good thing" they were working on, which he would announce at a later date. If this rumor was true, no matter how hard Sood tried, it would be tough to spin Voodoo's closing as a happy development.

Here's what could be happening (again, we don't know for sure): HP could be phasing out Voodoo's manufacturing operations in Canada. In July, HP announced it was rolling the Voodoo brand into its Personal Systems Group, which is the business unit in charge of making all consumer PCs. That transition could mean that Voodoo PCs start to come off the same production line as its Pavilion or new HDX laptops. According to HP, though Omen and Blackbird are made in Canada, Envy has been built in Asian factories from the beginning.

We'll update the story if we find out more.

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