Home / Tech News / GoPro abandons drone dreams

GoPro abandons drone dreams

GOPRO founder Nick Woodman wiped away tears as he confirmed the company would abandon its drone project and had cut hundreds of employees involved in its creation.

The chief executive, who last week reduced his salary to just $1, said he regretted not taking a pay cut “much sooner” to save jobs, and revealed GoPro would consider takeover bids from larger firms following poor financial results.

Despite the dire news, fans of the leading action camera company should still expect new products this year, including an entry-level camera launched within months.

Mr Woodman made the comments on the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and following weeks of speculation that GoPro would abandon its ambitions to lead the drone market.

The company’s Karma drone, released in late 2016, had a troubled beginning after it lost power midair was recalled just 16 days after launch, but recovered to become the second best-selling drone in America.

Mr Woodman said despite its popularity, the “mass consumer market for drones is not as big as everybody thought it was going to be,” and GoPro could no longer afford to pursue it.

“The ‘hey, I just want to buy a drone and have a laugh and see what that’s about,’ that price point needs to be really, really low for consumers to give it a go, and that’s not the business that we’re in,” Mr Woodman told News Corp.

“We will no longer be developing new drones. I want to give a big shout-out to GoPro’s drone team who unfortunately was let go as a part of this restructuring.”

Despite healthy sales of the GoPro Karma, Chinese firm DJI continues to dominate consumer and commercial drone sales with its Spark and Mavic Pro models topping the charts.

Sales of drones more than doubled in the US last year, according to research firm NPD group, but despite the jump rival drone maker Parrot cut 35 per cent of its drone team, and US firms 3DR and Lily Robotics abandoned their flying machines.

GoPro’s decision to escape the drone market a 37 per cent drop in revenue in the last quarter of the year, which Mr Woodman blamed on keeping the price of its older camera models too high.

A recent $US100 price drop saw GoPro sales rise tenfold, he said.

“There is significant demand for GoPro at the right price. We now understand this,” he said.

“Moving forward we can make better pricing decisions based on the data that we now have from unfortunately making a few mistakes.”

Mr Woodman said the company would “absolutely consider” takeover bids from larger firms that could help the company “grow in a way that we can’t as an independent company,” and became emotional when discussing his decision to give up his salary last week to be able to save more GoPro jobs.

Despite the cuts, GoPro planned to release a new entry-level camera in the first half of the year “to attract new customers” and “a slew of new products” late in 2018 “which we believe will bring back profitability for the company”.

**Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson travelled to Las Vegas as a guest of Samsung.

Check Also

Giant robot goes up in flames

LIKE something out of Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom, a gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex has gone …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *