GoPro pulls out of drone business
It had been expected: The company GoPro, founded in 2002 by Nick Woodmann and growing up with the development and sale of excellent action cams, has become considerably weaker. Just now, the preliminary financial results of the fourth quarter of 2017 were announced in the USA. The company expects a turnover of around 340 million US dollars for the fourth quarter of 2017 – too little to lead the floundering camera giant back into calmer waters.
So there must be a big change in 2018, because GoPro wants to stay on the market and launch innovative new products again in the new year – despite the loss of around 80 million US dollars in 2017.
From a simple ideas to a multi-million company
For a long time, GoPro’s path was steeply uphill. It all started with adventurous surfer, skier and motorcycle enthusiast Nick Woodmann, who in 2002 was looking for a way to better share his experiences with his friends. The cameras on the market at the time weren’t quite up to the task of surfing or skiing and didn’t give him the capabilities he wanted in a really good action cam.
That’s when he got inventive. His first design was a 35mm camera with a wrist strap made from the remains of old wetsuits combined with plastic scraps. More than 26 million GoPro cameras have now been sold in over 100 countries. In addition to outdoor and action cams that can be attached to the arm, helmets or clothing, GoPro has also produced a variety of high-end and well priced cameras for drones in recent years.
The step into the world of drones was perhaps too big after all
But what could be more obvious than launching a drone with a camera on the market? With the GoPro Karma, the company actually launched an initially much-celebrated model on the market, which came along with a good price-performance ratio and the usual GoPro quality. Of course, the main focus was on ensuring that the flight sequences accommodated the installed GoPro cameras.
Thus, the manufacturer had promised an absolute film and photo experience jerk-free images and suppressed film noise. However, the proverbial crash followed just two months after market launch. Due to increased risk of the drone crashing, it was taken off the market and only returned to the shelves of sellers in early 2017. The drone itself remains an item that has sold well – after all, GoPro ranked fourth among the top drone manufacturers in the study “Drones, the Market and Its Players.”
But the drone market in general is undergoing major changes, which makes the makers at GoPro more afraid than hopeful. For example, from the company’s headquarters in San Matteo, California, they have identified a hostile regulatory environment for drones in the U.S. and Europe, which the camera manufacturer believes will lead to a shrinking of the drone market in the coming years. These are not good conditions for a company that wants to get back on the road to success with all its might.
And this is how the first plans for course regulation look like
Costs are to be cut and divisions trimmed away. The Karma drone will be sold off and then disappear from stores. A new GoPro model is not planned. At the same time, staff is to be cut. Of 1,254 employees worldwide, less than 1,000 are to remain. To do this, they want to focus on production and the development of old and new really profitable products.
We can only hope that GoPro will quickly get back on track – because the quality of the cameras and other products from GoPro is undisputed and it would certainly leave a big gap in the market if this global player were to completely run out of steam.