Sunday, 18 November, 2018

GoPro exits the drone business, confirms job cuts

A Go Pro camera is seen on a skier's helmet as he rides down the slopes in the ski resort of Meribel French Alps A Go Pro camera is seen on a skier's helmet as he rides down the slopes in the ski resort of Meribel French Alps
Elsie Buchanan | 09 January, 2018, 00:28

Camera maker GoPro announced Monday that it will be leaving the drone business and laying off at least 250 employees.

The camera and technology company said it would cut its workforce of 1,254 to fewer than a thousand.

The company has suffered similar financial problems in recent years with disastrous fourth-quarter earnings in 2015, and a hard initial launch of the Karma drone in 2016. Furthermore, a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States will likely reduce the total addressable market in the years ahead.

In its earnings report, the company said that although the Karma "reached the #2 market position in its price band in 2017, the product faces margin challenges in an extremely competitive aerial market".

GoPro's stock took a beating in early morning trading and is now down almost 25 percent on the day.

Together with the tough legal positions in the U.S. and Europe, said GoPro, "these factors make the aerial market untenable".

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There have also been issues with some products, including the recall of its Karma aerial camera in 2016, after unexpected crashes. Although the FAA has a robust regulatory regime in place in the USA that allows for the easy use of small drones like the Karma, ongoing changes to laws, especially in Europe, make things uncertain for GoPro.

Along with the job cuts and plans to get out of the drone business, GoPro released preliminary fourth-quarter results, which didn't do anything to inspire investors' confidence.

GoPro said it expects $340 million in Q4 revenue - a slight $10 million bump from its previous quarter.

"GoPro is committed to turning our business around in 2018", Woodman said in a statement. Given the concerns about less expensive alternatives eating away at GoPro's action-camera market share, this price cut is not a good development.

GoPro promised continued support for existing Karma drones.

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