GoPro, a California company, is well-known for its action cameras. It became a household name, and any photographer at a certain point would want to own a GoPro. In order to expand its product line GoPro entered the drone industry. Thanks to the technical prowess of the GoPro camera, its releasing advisory about the launch of its first drone was met with bated excitement by hobbyists and photographers.

But the excitement and anticipation was short lived.

Named Karma, GoPro’s entry model in the world of drones was not meant to be up in the skies for long.  Reviews and complaints from unhappy drone owners saw the company pressured to really 'GoPro' or go home.

The Karma was a promising device, though, because you got a drone, a waterproof camera, and a handheld stabilizer in just a single package.

Released in late 2016, the above $1000 Karma drone was pegged as an expensive gadget and, worst, a product that was unfinished and not ready for use. All the drone units were eventually recalled by November of that year after a technical glitch caused the aircraft to lose its power. By 2018, it was wholly discontinued.

GoPro suffered a significant financial loss of $373 million that year, making its rival devices manufacturer DJI more powerful and market-friendly. But GoPro did not just lose to this product because it lost more than that. It was also forced to lay-off hundreds of its staff.

Here are the top reasons why the Karma went crashing down:

1.It was rushed to the market – what happened to the GoPro drone had everyone speculating that the company wanted everything at once. They were hoping to release this powerful drone with its trademark camera too soon and in just a single go with the expectation that it will be a perfect device. This was not at all feasible. Take into consideration the fact that building a small and autonomous drone is not an easy task.

GoPro broadcasted the Karma in late 2015 and initially advised it to debut in early 2016. But in May 2016, GoPro delayed it until the holiday season. When at last, it arrived in late October, it was instantly inundated by technical issues.

Those issues highlight that GoPro undervalued the difficulty of creating a drone and then hurried the Karma to the market before it was appropriately and accurately tested. In comparison, DJI was established in 2006 but didn't start generating good drones until 2011.

While getting a good drone up and going is always a work in progress, GoPro wanted to release an ambitious device expecting a 10/10 performance. GoPro was pressured to release the drone while the investors and consumers are still interested.

2.It failed to think like a tech company – It was a challenging time for GoPro, with social media full of rants and unforgiving reactions to the product calling it a waste of money. Snags with the drone were numerous with unsatisfied customers complaining about having issues with the compass calibration, GPS-related problems, and the camera-carrying drone not starting at all. Definitely, there were technical glitches that needed immediate resolution.

Even if GoPro committed to supporting the existing working machines with the required software updates, the consumers were not appeased. GoPro finally released an acknowledgment that they've identified the cause of the glitches and that a fix is being implemented. This was followed by a firmware update for Karma that promised to address these issues.

This cause was then further released to be linked to the GPS clock rollover phenomenon. This occurrence happens once every 19.7 years, where the software needs to be programmed in anticipation of the rollover to zero weeks else the gadget will stop working.

Most of the tech organizations avert this anticipated problem by releasing software updates months before the event. GoPro didn’t. In fact, GoPro failed to update Karma’s software since September 2018. Most concluded that being a camera company, they were unable to think like a tech firm.

3.Wrong business timing – during the debut of the Karma, the drone industry was already dominated by Chinese company DJI Innovations who has released its first series of Phantom drones in 2013. The initial Phantom drones already have a GoPro camera, but the company started creating their camera lines, remotely controlled. This made GoPro realize that they're too late in the market, so to remedy that, they had talks with DJI, to do a GoPro branded aircraft, but it did not materialize. GoPro then settled with 3D Robotics, the smaller rival of DJI, to create the drone.  Unfortunately, 3D Robotics failed to deliver on time, so GoPro opted to take over the whole development process in mid-2015. By that time, DJI launched the Phantom 3, phasing out the 3D Robotics.

To conclude the downfall of the GoPro Karma can be attributed to poor planning and failure to understand the market and the competition which led to an embarrassing failure and a recall followed by an eventual shutdown.