Facebook Buying Opera Browser: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

According to a new report, social networking website Facebook is currently in negotiations to purchase Internet browser-maker Opera Software.

If true, observers believe the acquisition could give Facebook a launching pad for the construction and distribution of a new browser which would revolve around the use of social media.

The report comes from technology blog Pocket-lint, which says that unknown though "trusted sources" have said that Facebook is discussing the purchase of Opera Software, based in Oslo, Norway.

According to Pocket-lint, a Facebook browser "would allow you keep up to date with your social life from in-built plug-ins and features on the menu bar." (Source: cnet.com)

Opera Reportedly Strapped for Cash

When questioned on this matter by the media late last week, Facebook officially declined to comment. Opera also refused to comment, offering only the response: "As a standard policy Opera does not respond to market rumors and we have no comment to the rumor addressed in the question." (Source: pcmag.com)

But even if Pocket-lint is the only blog currently reporting this Facebook rumor, other sites have already laid a foundation for the idea of an Opera buyout.

The Next Web, for example, has recently noted that (according to its own unknown sources) the Oslo firm is presently under a hiring freeze, which many observers take to indicate that times at the software maker are tough.

The Next Web also says its sources have indicated that Opera management was considering selling the firm in order to escape the delicate financial situation. (Source: pcmag.com)

Facebook Backing Could Transform Opera Browser

Given the circumstances, a Facebook purchase seems reasonable to many: Opera is an established browser with approximately 270 million users around the world. It also produces browser software for desktops, tablet computers, and smartphones.

On its own, however, Opera is having trouble competing with Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Apple. With the financial backing of Facebook, which last month purchased photo-sharing service Instagram for $1 billion, many think Opera could become a heavyweight in the browser market.

The buyout of Opera would also help Facebook, giving it more control over the browsers its users employ, and an outlet into the mobile market, something the company has struggled to achieve in recent years.

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