It's been a tumultuous year for GoPro. The company, whose name is still as synonymous with "pocket-size- action-HD-video-camera" as Band-Aid's name is with "adhesive bandage," has had a rocky time recently. From its drones falling from the sky to its stock losing half its value just this year, things have been rough for the once market-driving manufacturer. Today, steps were taken in an attempt to right the ship.
GoPro was a pioneer of their market for some time, but has recently been challenged by numerous competitors and has had to play catch-up for a while now. Their software is clunky, there are new equally small and useful HD-recording cameras floating around, and their attempt at having a drone on the market was done without innovation or recognition of what people are wanting in a drone. And even though everyone still knows and refers to the GoPro name when talking about new tech in that arena, they've been steadily losing steam and have been in a need of a revamp for some time. Even though their Black Friday sales were up this year, it's not enough to rely on that to make the company solid again.
Today GoPro announced some plans to bail out their sinking ship: they're going to cut their workforce by 15%, which is about 200 people, and their President, Tony Bates (formerly CEO of Skype), is going to leave by the end of the year.
"Consumer demand for GoPro is solid and we've sharply narrowed our focus to concentrate on our core business," said [GoPro Founder and CEO] Nicholas Woodman. "We are headed into 2017 with a powerful global brand, our best ever products, and a clear roadmap for restored growth and profitability in 2017."
Layoffs and upper management shifts are not easy, but they say this will help them to refocus their efforts on their core products. Does that mean fewer lackluster drones just because drones are popular right now? More awesome and innovative GoPro cameras? Who knows. But, it seems like a good-faith effort at an attempt to take a step back and reassess their priorities, their values, and their needs. A true restructuring, reshaping, revisioning. I hope it helps.
Interestingly, GoPro's stock is up about 3% today after the announcement.