After abandoning the Karma drone project, GoPro has laid of several hundred employees—the majority of whom worked in the drone division.
Sources tell us that GoPro had announced layoffs prior to letting people go, and the employees will receive compensation up until February 16th of this year. Employees were told that the layoffs were happening so that GoPro could better respond to business requirements.
Karma was plagued with setbacks from the start. It was meant to be released in 2016, but the company announced that it would be pushing the release back by several months. Even after its release, the results were disastrous, and GoPro had to recall 2500 drones after customers had their drones fail in-flight and fall to the ground.
Jeff Brown, a GoPro spokesperson, told the media shortly afterwards that the company was going to launch an investigation into the issue. He said that the drones simply lost power as they were flying. The issue was eventually fixed, though the solution was as simple as sticking a piece of tape to the drone.
This is not the first time that GoPro has laid people off, as we’ve seen several layoffs happen during the last couple of years. In 2016, 15% of the company’s employee base was laid off, and they shut down the entertainment division; in March of 2017, 17% of its staff was laid off.
The layoffs are not surprising as GoPro struggles to make profits in such a competitive market. In 2017, the company managed to earn about $15 million in profit, though many argue that that is not enough to counter the $104 million loss they experienced just a year before. GoPro had also been praising Karma at the time, stating that it was the second best selling drone in the United States that was priced higher than $1000. The job cuts and cancellation of the Karma drone suggests otherwise.