GoPro to shut down drone division for new products?

GoPro Karma
A GoPro Karma lands on a platform safely Flickr/Paintimpact

Amid the report that GoPro is currently downsizing its drone division, laying off around 200 to 300 employees, speculation is rife that the technology firm could be shutting down the Karma brand as soon as February. Latest reports suggest that the company's move might be paving the way for new products.

GoPro has informed its impacted staff that the massive job cut in place is part of its plans "to better align our resources with business requirements", reports TechCrunch, adding that they will still be included on the payroll until February 16. The company, whose name is synonymous to action cameras, is reportedly putting the news on the back burner until CES and its earnings report wrap up on February 1.

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This is not the first time that GoPro employees suffered from major layoffs. Late 2016, the company removed 100 people from its entertainment division, followed by 270 more in March 2017.

New products

Diversification has been the core vision of GoPro founder and chief executive Nick Woodman. In an interview with CNBC in November 2017, he teased that a new series of products are off to the market by 2018. There was no exact statement which ones are going to make it to the public other than the company's inventory reduction plans before the first quarter of 2018 comes.

Woodman specifically made mentions of the Hero 5 Black cameras which consist mostly of the company's remaining inventory. Apparently, the targeted reduction was made due to the launch of the Hero 6 Black, but this could also be a good indication that GoPro is brewing something new in the laboratory.

GoPro employees and founder Nick Woodman
GoPro Inc's founder and CEO Nick Woodman (C) celebrates GoPro Inc's IPO with family and staff at the Nasdaq Market Site in New York City, June 26, 2014 REUTERS/Mike Segar

Since it shifted focus from action cameras to drones in the past couple of years, the move was a rough start for Karma to draw in a potentially large following. Confronted with issues like Karma drones randomly falling from the sky and the ensuing mass recall of the product, GoPro was absolutely beating its head against the wall.

Three months after being stuck in the warehouse, refreshed Karma drones were released back to the market in February 2017 and reported good financial gains. GoPro soon branched out to mobile apps and editing software, smartwatch and other products.

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This article was first published on January 7, 2018