Apple’s iPhone Ruins GoPro

November 16, 2015 by Douglas A. McIntyre

GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO) has enough problems that comparisons between one of its flagship products and the iPhone 6s video function gives investors another reason to sell the stock.

GoPro has slipped beneath its IPO price to $21, down from a 52-week peak of $86. Polaroid has sued it for patent violations. The company’s revenue continues to grow at an impressive pace, according to its most recent earnings report. Revenue was up 43% to $400 million. Net income rose 29% to $19 million. But guidance was brutally bad, and GoPro’s stock was hammered.

It has occurred to investors that GoPro’s Hero 4 does not capture video any better than the iPhone 6s. Getting the iPhone 6s to work like the Hero requires some work to mount the camera for action. But tech wizards have done most of the work to allow it to do so. In some circumstances the GoPro product is superior. The iPhone 6s does not work in water. It also breaks more easily.

Do most GoPro products get used by athletes and scuba divers? Based on the number of cameras it sells, probably not.

The fact that media that follow Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) would even make a comparison between an iPhone 6s and GoPro Hero 4 is damaging all by itself.

GoPro’s stock fell sharply as the video camera consuming public began to use the iPhone 6s as a GoPro replacement. GoPro’s shares are so low that there is speculation that Apple might buy the company. Apple management does not need to consider that. The iPhone 6s already has GoPro features. With the launch of the iPhone 7 just months away, the odds that it will marginalize GoPro products could destroy GoPro’s appeal more than Apple already has.

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