GoPro Reportedly Lays Off Hundreds of People Following Disastrous Karma Drone

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

GoPro is reportedly laying off 200 to 300 employees this week, according to TechCrunch, gutting the division that produced its ill-conceived Karma drone.

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The company reportedly announced the layoffs on Thursday but affected employees, most of which allegedly came from GoPro’s aerial division, will be paid through February 16th, sources told TechCrunch. The former employees were reportedly informed in a memo that the layoffs are a result of a restructuring effort “to better align our resources with business requirements.”

Cuts from GoPro’s aerial division follow a disastrous launch of the Karma. Ahead of Karma’s slated release in 2016, GoPro announced in an earnings report that it was pushing the release back to the end of the year. Shortly after the release of its new drone, GoPro had to recall about 2,500 Karma units after users reported that they were literally falling from the sky. The company dumped the news of the recall on Election Night, just as America was collectively focused on its warping political reality.

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“We have started an investigation out of an abundance of caution,” GoPro spokesperson Jeff Brown told Gizmodo at the time. “They’re losing power during operation. You see what we see on the internet. They’re losing operation while these things are flying.”

The fix, it turned out, was just a piece of tape.

GoPro’s downsizing this week follows a string of layoffs over the past few years. At the end of 2016, it laid off 15 percent of its staff and eliminated its entertainment division. And in March last year, it cut about 17 percent of its staff, or about 270 jobs.

The series of layoffs marks the company’s continued efforts to grapple with a decline in sales and mounting competition. The company turned around its fortunes in the third quarter of 2017, earning $15 million in profits—a massive rebound from its $104 million loss during the same period the year before. GoPro even touted the success of the Karma, claiming it was the “the #2 selling drone in the U.S. priced $1,000 and above” as of September 2017. Alas, that appears to not have been good enough, and it remains to be seen if the latest cuts signal a hole in the grave for the Karma.

GoPro did not immediately respond to our request to comment on the reported layoffs and the future of its aerial division.

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[TechCrunch]

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DISCUSSION

GoPro’s bigger long-term problem is the existential crisis they induced in half their users.

There is no more definitive way to find out how boring your life is than buying a GoPro and then viewing the sum total of your recordings six months later (three minutes of your dog at the park, an hour of amateur surfing footage from vacation that no one else on earth will ever want to watch, and a bunch of unidentifiable snippets and stills from all the times you fucked up using the one-button interface).

Frankly the fact that for a time they managed to convince us all that we were suddenly going to take up base jumping, drag racing, and competitive luge long enough to rationalize buying the first few generations of camera is more an amazing feat of marketing than anything else. Take the W and retire on a high, GoPro...