Opera Could End If Google Sings
When it comes to market capitalization, Google is definitely a prima donna of substantial girth; the next aria it sings could be a swan song for the Norwegian-made Opera browser.
Il Truccatore, The Master of Disguise. Il Truccatore (ten.), a mysterious nobleman, causes scandal in the city when he woos high-born ladies while disguised as their husbands. However, Laura (sop.), the new bride of Capriccio (bar.), refuses to give in to his blandishments --
-- Henry Lawsy tries to make sense of an opera program in Terry Pratchett's Maskerade
Opera has a small following, less than that of Mozilla’s Firefox, which is a distant second in market share to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Price cited it as the browser he uses all the time; I’ve become a fan of Opera as well. Until September, Opera was available in a free, ad-supported configuration as well as a paid product.
That changed with Opera’s tenth anniversary, where the company gave away free license codes to remove the ad banners as part of a 24-hour celebration. Then, Opera announced the ad-free version of the browser would be free for anyone to download.
It was a surprising change for Opera to make, and it took some sleuthing from Om Malik to find the real reason for the offer: Google was paying Opera in exchange for being the default search option, as it does for the same placement in Firefox by paying Mozilla a reported $30 million annually.
Price conjectured that Opera’s presence on mobile devices like smartphones could be a factor in Google’s rumored interest. Also, Opera recently made an AJAX development kit for mobile developers available; Google services like Gmail and the personalized Google homepage make extensive use of AJAX programming today.
UPDATE: Reuters has been reporting Opera’s CFO, Christian Jebsen, as saying Opera has not been approached by Google or any other companies about a takeover. “We have heard the rumors but know nothing more about this,” Jebsen said in the report on Dec. 15th.
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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.