Some recent articles in business pubs and in SUAS News indicate that most of the “Drone Team” left at GoPro has been given their walking papers.
A valid guess would be that Holiday Sales indicated there is no future in this dated product. This has been, of course, our prediction (guess?) all along due to the way GoPro went about creating and marketing this machine. Predictions were made for 100’s of millions in Revenue when the reality is probably 10% or less of that. Furthermore, reliability is coming into question….lots of crashes and “flyaways”. Our earlier article lays out much of the cas against the GoPro Karma.
GoPro stock has hit a new low – investors have now lost well over 90% of their money from the peak prices.
Karma was rumored to be based on the same basic code (Pixhawk) as the 3DR Solo). Although it’s not my favorite saying, when it comes to the “band of merry men” who make up the “3DR Crew”, many of whom worked also on Karma (and now are on to other ventures), it’s time to “stick a fork in it”. After all, it’s hard to imagine going to a job interview and explaining how your departments lost hundreds of millions of dollars….and then saying “hire me”. For whatever reason(s) the lack of organization, focus and capabilities, etc. has made this “open source” flight controller team into an evaporating force which is now trying to sell $150 toy quadcopters that break after a couple hours of flight. No doubt sooner or later someone will “get it”. On one hand they got rid of Colin Guinn, perhaps the largest exaggerator and therefore poorest marketer in the bunch. But the top management still remains – specifically Chris Andersen. If I were in his shoes I would just admit to myself “hey, I’m not a CEO, I’m not an engineer and I don’t know how to manufacturer”. He did fine as a writer and editor/[publisher and that might be a great place to fall back upon.
Sooner or later I expect some decent stuff to come out of PX4 and those project – but, wow, by the time this happens we will be talking decades….not seasons or years. Also, it is unlikely that the stuff will have any features not already commercially available. Maybe Google can take over the project and make something of it???
In any case, we are now at the point where there is effectively one major manufacturer of consumer drones – DJI. Parrot has some market share around the edges and Autel and Yuneec are still selling a few unit (very few in some cases). It’s hard to imagine either establishing a sustainable biz model without some major financing or changes.
DJI Still may not have more than 70% of the market – but that is simply because there are 100’s of models making up the other 25%. Looking at it inversely, other than toys, I see Parrot and perhaps a few others (we will study after CES) being the only possibilities for profitable consumer drones (toys excluded).
We always wish success on everyone…unfortunately, wishes are not enough. It’s a sad commentary on affairs in the USA when we are incapable of building and supporting a functioning unmanned aviation industry.
GoPro is now effectively a single product company – with a single product that is out-of-style and which very few people ever need to replace. Their messaging indicated that Karma was the beginning of a varied product line that would easily propel sales into the billions of dollars and bring back growth. Sadly, there is almost nothing more that can go wrong with this company. The stock is almost worthless and, even at that price, it’s unlikely to be acquired at a decent value. Nick himself (CEO) has nothing to worry about, having sold a BIG chunk of his stock early in the game….he can continue to build the 170 Ft. Yacht he is working on and fly around in private jets with his “bros”.
Whether GoPro survives or not, expect to see Nick pumping his next new billion dollar idea. Americans might like a winner, but based on Trump, 3DR, GM, GoPro and others they love losers also…..