GoPro exits drone market, hints at search for a buyer, partner

The leader in the action cam market continues to reduce its size and product lines in its fight to stay profitable.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
2 min read

GoPro will discontinue its Karma drone and exit the category. 

Joshua Goldman/CNET

GoPro's move into the drone market is coming to an end. 

In the company's fourth quarter 2017 results announcement, GoPro said it will discontinue its Karma drone and exit the category. It cited "margin challenges in an extremely competitive aerial market" and "a hostile regulatory environment in Europe and the United States" as causes.

GoPro was the already facing an uphill battle when it launched the Karma, its first drone designed for the company's cameras, in September 2016. The drone was set back by production delays and entered a market dominated by drone maker DJI. The Karma launch was followed by a full recall to fix an issue with the drone's battery that caused it to lose power in flight. 

Watch this: GoPro unveils Karma Drone with removable grip stabilizer

GoPro was able to offer something different with the Karma's simple gaming-style controls, folding body and a unique design that let you remove its camera stabilizer to use handheld. Those things -- and the GoPro name -- helped put Karma into second place in its price band in 2017 behind category leader DJI. But it wasn't enough and the Karma is now part of the company's other cost-cutting measures

GoPro said it will sell through its remaining Karma inventory and will continue to provide service and support to Karma customers.

In addition to its earning news, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman told CNBC the company would consider a sale or partnership with another company. CNBC also reported GoPro has hired JP Morgan Chase to help it seek a potential sale.

"We've always been clear that we are open to any opportunity that will help us scale our mission. JP Morgan is our banker, but there is no active engagement to sell. It is our responsibility to scale the business, so if the right opportunity presented itself, it's something we would consider," a GoPro representative said in an email to CNET. 

Update, 6:09 p.m. PST: Adds response from GoPro.