GoPro grounds drone business as aerial division takes brunt of restructuring

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GoPro is poised to exit the drone market in a move reportedly set to impact more than 200 staff.

The action camera specialist blamed a slump in sales during the core US holiday season for the decision to restructure, reports claimed this morning.

Preliminary Q4 results issued to the market revealed that revenues included a negative impact of $80m (£59m) for price protection on a series of camera products, as well as the Karma drone. Overall sales were expected to reach $340m (£251m), down by more than 30% on the previous year.

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US media reports claimed today that the California-based outfit’s move to ditch its drone business was down to tough competition and tighter regulation of the sector.

Respected tech website Techcrunch said the news “won’t come as much of a surprise” to those following the company’s moves into drones over the past several years.

It said that its Karma drone “has been a headache from the start”, with technical limitations and a mass product recall causing it difficulties.

GoPro relaunched the Karma in February 2017 after voluntarily withdrawing it from the market in November 2016 after a small number of cases where batteries disconnected during flight, resulting in a loss of power. It subsequently identified the issue as related to the latch mechanism which secured the drone’s battery.

Techcrunch also suggested that the Karma’s appeal had been “dulled” by one-time partner DJI, which introduced its own portable drones, the Mavik Pro and Spark, to the market.

Shares at the company tumbled this morning, but CEO Nicholas Woodman put on a brave face: “GoPro is committed to turning our business around in 2018,” he stated. “We entered the new year with strong sell-through and are excited with our hardware and software roadmap. We expect that going forward, our roadmap coupled with a lower operating expense model will enable GoPro to return to profitability and growth in the second half of 2018.”

Tags : dronesGoPro
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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