Well, did they actually let people go, and how many? There isn't much to confirm this other than somebody on this forum who says that somebody at the CS office told him so. Until we hear differently from the actual parties involved thats about the extent of what is known.
Did the warranty change or not? Many here are claiming it did. Here is the link to a warranty page that is current and says otherwise-
Letting staff go is not unusual if there are redundancies after the acquisition. Who goes and who stays is a matter of what is needed to run the business. In this case if its just office staff, they can be easily replaced by employees in Texas. You don't need 3 people in California to answer the phone when one in Texas will do fine. However, if you have operational facilities like a warehouse in California, you can't very well run that without somebody on site.
You don't properly reckon the following that Cold Steel has DUE to all those wild, weird products and marketing. To consider Buck, Case and Victorinox to have greater followings is inaccurate and under-informed. People may know of "Buck" because the ubiquitous (generic) "buck knife". Case are simply "jack knives" to most people and Victorinox are "swiss army knives" to most people. They couldn't tell a Wenger SAK from a Victorinox SAK. They couldn't tell a Buck from a generic "110". A Case may as well be a Rough Rider...or a GEC.That's really an excellent question. In the case of truly iconic brands like Buck, Case, Victorinox, etc., a quick buck can be made (particularly if the company is in financial trouble and a good deal can be realized) by widening/cheapening the brand and then making them vastly more available at every Costco, Wal*Mart, Target, etc. Average people KNOW those brands and they equate those names with quality and thus it spurs sales -- even if the new models for Costco/Wal*Mart/Target really aren't of the same product quality their existing models are. Some will argue that has already happened to brands like Gerber, Kershaw and a host of others.
The catch I think in the schema many here are offering is that CS is no Buck, Case, Victorinox, etc. Not even close in terms of name recognition by non-knife people. So to suggest that CS knives can be cost-reduced and then sold by the supertankerload at every Wal*Mart and Target is highly questionable in my opinion.