Action camera maker GoPro has shuttered its developer program. A statement posted on the developer program website reads, "We are grateful to the GoPro Developer Community for your interest in the program." The program, which was launched in April 2016 at an event in San Francisco.
The program was described as "an effort to support companies wanting to develop a seamless user experience between their products and GoPro products."
The program offered developers toolkits that enabled them to connect mobile apps and hardware devices to connect them to GoPro cameras. These toolkits offered access to functions like camera command and control, video previews and video management.
The GoPro developer program also offered developers the ability to "create accurate and reliable physical mounting solutions for GoPro devices."
A number of high-profile partners, including BMW and Fisher-Price, were present at the launch event to demonstrate their GoPro integrations. BMW, for instance, implemented tools that enabled drivers to obtain telemetry data, speed, location and video content from GoPro cameras. And Fisher-Price created child-friendly camera housings and mounts for a number of its products.
Nick Woodman, GoPro's founder and CEO, explained that the "the GoPro Developer Program is a way for us to celebrate the innovative work of our developer community and more importantly, help enable what comes next. We’re grateful to benefit from the collective genius of the participating developers and we’re excited to now officially support their efforts with our developer toolkits."
So why was the program shuttered less than two years later?
That isn't clear because it doesn't appear GoPro has issued an official statement announcing the shuttering of the program. But some have speculated that it might have something to do with reports that the company might be trying to sell itself.
The reports surfaced after the camera maker cut its outlook, announced layoffs and revealed that it's no longer going to be in the drone business.
While the goal of the GoPro developer program – to help third parties integrate their applications and hardware devices with GoPro cameras – makes a lot of sense on paper, as GoPro's fortunes have declined as it faces increased competition, it seems possible that maintaining the program and supporting a developer ecosystem is not seen as being as important today. It's also possible that, if the reports of a sale are true, GoPro's suitors might be players that don't have an incentive to support an open ecosystem that welcomes third parties.
Even so, the seemingly abrupt shuttering of the GoPro developer program doesn't look good and is a reminder to developers that their continued access to a platform or ecosystem is not guaranteed.