GoPro exits drone market, hints at search for a buyer, partner
In the company’s fourth quarter 2017 results announcement, GoPro said it will discontinue its Karma drone and exit the category. It cited “margin challenges in an extremely competitive aerial market” and “a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States” as causes.
GoPro was the already facing an uphill battle when it launched the Karma, its first drone designed for the company’s cameras, in September 2016. The drone was set back by production delays and entered a market dominated by drone maker DJI. The Karma launch was followed by a full recall to fix an issue with the drone’s battery that caused it to lose power in flight.
GoPro was able to offer something different with the Karma’s simple gaming-style controls, folding body and a unique design that let you remove its camera stabilizer to use handheld. Those things — and the GoPro name — helped put Karma into second place in its price band in 2017 behind category leader DJI. But it wasn’t enough and the Karma is now part of the company’s other cost-cutting measures.
GoPro said it will sell through its remaining Karma inventory and will continue to provide service and support to Karma customers.
In addition to its earning news, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman told CNBC the company would consider a sale or partnership with another company. CNBC also reported GoPro has hired JP Morgan Chase to help it seek a potential sale.