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HP and Voodoo pull a Dell and Alienware

HP and Voodoo pull a Dell and Alienware

As you may have heard, HP and Voodoo appeared together on stage last tonight to announce their new partnership. Voodoo CEO Ravi Sood and his brother Rahul, the chief technology officer, will now report to HP's Phil McKinney, the CTO of HP's personal systems group. In short, once the deal has finalized, HP will have acquired a boutique PC maker to give it leverage in the profitable high-end gaming PC market, similar to the way in which Dell subsumed Alienware earlier this year.

According to Rahul's blog, Voodoo's operations will remain in Calgary, and you can continue to purchase Voodoo PCs. As for the future, "our strategy for the HP gaming portfolio is yet to be revealed--but expect the unexpected." And here we thought we were at the Manhattan Center last night for a simple fourth quarter HP product refresh.

With no new Voodoo products at the time of the announcement, it's hard to say whether this deal is any different from Dell's acquisition of Alienware. That marriage seems so far to be a hands-off kind of situation, for better or for worse. You don't see Alienware PCs among the Dells in your Sunday circular, but Dell's XPS desktops technically compete with Alienware's products for high-end gaming dollars. According to Rahul, the HP-Voodoo deal is different. Both in his blog and at last night's event, Rahul said that he had been given the keys to HP's R&D lab and that that would give Voodoo access to innovative muscle it didn't have before.

If Voodoo and HP really do pool resources and mindsets, I would expect that we'll see some very exciting products coming out of the partnership. Despite its rep as a pusher of printer ink, HP has impressed us with its creativity on the PC side over the past few years. Its Personal Media Drives and the z555 Digital Entertainment Center have both demonstrated HP's willingness to take risks. And Voodoo most definitely knows how to make a performance PC. What we also hope is that HP's mass-market background rubs off on the Voodoo team. We've always admired Voodoo's attention to detail and the level of craftsmanship behind its PCs, but we've also often found Voodoo systems overpriced, even for high-end gaming desktops.