by Anton Shilov
11/30/2012 | 11:34 AM
Hewlett-Packard has made it quite clear that it is not interested in any kind of premium personal computers, especially those that are oriented on consumers. However, after the company rolled out cheap-looking Envy-branded desktops, Rahul Sood, the founder of Voodoo PC that first created the Envy trademark to sell high-end laptops and desktops, got really disappointed with the move.
HP acquired Voodoo PC boutique personal computer maker in 2006, but for a while Voodoo operated as a separate business entity creating masterpieces like Omen desktop and Envy laptop, both designed to be extremely powerful and gorgeously stylish. Starting 2008 – 2009, HP started to blend Voodoo into its own product line, which resulted into certain compromises. By late 2009 Voodoo PC brand ceased to exist, but the Envy brand with VoodooDNA remained in use for advanced machines. Starting 2012, Hewlett-Packard started to place Envy symbol (VoodooDNA was lost in action in 2010 or 2011) onto numerous products, including Envy 100 printer and cheap desktop called HP Envy h8 (which could be read as “Envy hate”), which apparently was too much for Rahul Sood, one of the creators of the brand.
“Thought I had seen everything... Then I saw the ‘HP Envy H8’ desktop. What the heck guys? Is this code for ‘I give up’?” exclaimed Rahul Sood at his Facebook page when he first saw the desktop listed at HP.com early this week.
The grief the former head of Voodoo has is quite understandable. HP bought Voodoo to bring in new blood as well as leading-edge system design to create luxurious, yet high-performance PCs. In many ways, the Voodoo was meant to be akin to Bentley or Lamborghini within Volkswagen Group. After HP dropped Voodoo, the Envy product line was meant to become a dedicated brand for cutting-edge products that would literally cause envy. However, HP decided to further lower the bar and start to use the Envy brand on a printer and on a desktop made of plastic that cost starts at $699.
“I have always said that brand is so much more than a logo on the box, it starts with culture, which leads to product, which leads to evangelism and community – and all of that becomes the soul of your brand. The HP Way is still one of my favorite business books, and HP is a pioneer in this industry and an icon in the Valley. Let's hope they find the HP Way again,” said Mr. Sood.