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Licensing deal is a first for Opera's highly successful mobile effort

Norway's Opera Software ASA (STO:OPERAO), known for its speedy internet browser, has long played the role of creative underdog, pioneering tabs, server-side page-caching, and other technologies later embraced by larger browsermakers.  In the mobile space, it's a far more serious challenger, having offered smartphone browsers since the form factor first emerged in the middle of last decade.  
 
Opera boasts that its mobile browser, Opera Mini, currently has 250 million active users, of which 100 million are on Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android OS platform (Opera is also available for iOS and other platforms).
 
But for all its mobile gains, Opera was never the official browser of a software platform (to our knowledge) -- certainly not an official browser of a high volume smartphone platform, at least.  That's what makes Opera's new licensing deal with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) both historic and intriguing.
 
Announced on Thursday, Microsoft has decided to license Opera Mini as the official browser for its S30, S40, and Asha Symbian Nokia phones, which can be viewed either as entry-level budget smartphone devices or smartphone-like feature phones.

Opera Mini on Asha

On the PC, Opera competes with Microsoft's Internet Explorer.  But rather than try to tune Internet Explorer to run efficiently on the low-end ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) instruction set architecture (ISA) processors in these budget phones, Microsoft made the decision of simply striking up a licensing deal with its more established rival, rather than trying to squeeze Internet Explorer into a niche it had little experience in.

Opera Mini

Microsoft's Rich Bernardo, who heads what Microsoft titles humorously its "legacy phone business" unit, cheers:

We continue to sell and support classic first and feature phones as well as the Asha range, which have performed well with millions of people who want new mobile experiences at lower price points.  The agreement with Opera will enable us to provide continuity of service as we transition from Xpress Browser to Opera Mini.

Opera's CEO Lars Boilesen, who took over from founding CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner in 2010, adds:

This is a great opportunity to spread the benefits of Opera Mini to millions more consumers in our core markets. There are still massive numbers of people who have not moved to smartphones, but Opera Mini can provide them with an amazing browsing experience right now.

The impact of the deal remains to be seen, as it depends somewhat of how many of the legacy devices Microsoft continues to choose to sell.  The S30, S40, and Asha phones are primarily sold in developing markets such as Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, but also have seen some sales success in Europe where buyers covet low-cost unlocked handsets.  More recent S Series and Asha models have mirrored the distinctive vibrant, colorful design style better known to U.S. consumers from Nokia's Lumia Windows Phones.
Nokia Asha 230
A Nokia Asha 230

Since Microsoft finished its acquisition of Nokia Devices from Finland's Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) the future of Asha and the S Series devices has been made uncertain.  Sales have slumped, somewhat, but demand remains relatively high in aforementioned developing markets where the brand has a strong image.
 
Opera says it has 350 million total browser users, which implies that it has roughly 100 million PC users.  Or put differently, roughly 71 percent of Opera's browser users are mobile, 29 percent are PC-bound.
 
Prior to this deal Opera monetized through licensing deals with 130+ OEMs and carriers who bundled Opera Mini as part of their customized "experience" package for users.  Opera also traditionally has monetized by selling default search engine access to the highest bidder.  Most recently, it has added a browser app/extension market and in-browser advertising for mobile browsers.  The mobile ads represent a particularly lucrative new revenue stream.

Source: Opera Software [press release]



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?
By name99 on 8/21/14, Rating: 0
RE: ?
By retrospooty on 8/21/2014 2:22:08 PM , Rating: 1
"And the clusterfsck that is Microsoft's "strategy" continues. What's the long term plan here guys? Anyone there have a clue?"

Just becasue on some of thier phones they arent using their own OS, and using Google's instead? But on those non MS phones they wont use Google's browser, they will use Opera. LOL.

I am not seeing the problem here... If "clusterfsck" was the goal. LOL.


RE: ?
By michael67 on 8/21/2014 2:47:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Just becasue on some of thier phones they arent using their own OS, and using Google's instead? But on those non MS phones they wont use Google's browser, they will use Opera. LOL.

These are not Android phones they are gone use Opera on.

Nokia is still one of the biggest makers of low end telephones, for now this is really one of the most smartest things they can do.

At least till they sell of the production lines for there cheap budget telephones with the Symbian 30 and 40 OS.

These are semi smartphones, dumber then WP or Android, smarter then a real dumb mobile.

As these phones do not compete with WP, Android or iPhones, but if your gone cut in to the development cost of these phones, using a third party browser, and one that even works better then the old Nokia browser, why not its win-win.

quote:
Announced on Thursday, Microsoft has decided to license Opera Mini as the official browser for its S30, S40, and Asha Symbian Nokia phones , which can be viewed either as entry-level budget smartphone devices or smartphone-like feature phones. - See more at: http://www.dailytech.com/Opera+Becomes+Official+Br...


RE: ?
By Krinosy on 8/21/2014 9:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the development and manufacturing facilities for the non-WP handsets were on the chopping block with the recent cuts I don't think they have much of a future at Microsoft once their development pipeline is cleared. As such, until the non-WP smartphone business units are completely shuttered, replacing the previously in-house solution with a third party solution makes sense.


RE: ?
By sprockkets on 8/22/2014 8:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
Opera now uses Google's blink engine for rendering


RE: ?
By GulWestfale on 8/21/2014 2:49:08 PM , Rating: 1
i do believe that from a marketing point of view, not using their own browser is hilarious. they admit how bad IE is... yet continue to use it on other platforms.

also, in another article it said that a "light" version of windows 8 "only" weighs in at 176MB, which is still massive when compared to true "light" OSes.

so yes, MS have a loooong way to go before people in the mobile space see them as anything but a dinosaur.

on the other hand, these low-end phones simply may not be able to run a less efficiently coded browser than opera, and MS needs to compete in this market, particularly in emerging economies such as brazil and india. it's a large market, and opera will certainly make their phones more attractive to end users.

in the long term, i agree; MS needs to make its own stuff better.
but as a short-term solution, they could have done worse than using opera.


RE: ?
By retrospooty on 8/21/2014 3:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
"i do believe that from a marketing point of view, not using their own browser is hilarious. "

It's not hilarious, it's just out of a good healthy sense of civic duty. http://i.imgur.com/3B0pt3M.jpg


RE: ?
By GulWestfale on 8/21/2014 4:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
yep, just like the kardashians not filming their tenth season. it's a public service, really.


RE: ?
By StevoLincolnite on 8/21/2014 7:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
they admit how bad IE is... yet continue to use it on other platforms.


I can't speak of other platforms, but on Windows Phone, Xbox One, Windows 7/Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer isn't actually bad, it lets me do everything I can ask of a web browser, such as browse the web. - I certainly don't expect it to make me cake.

quote:
also, in another article it said that a "light" version of windows 8 "only" weighs in at 176MB, which is still massive when compared to true "light" OSes.


This is true, even at 176Mb it's still pretty monolithic, however, if a small size is super important, there is always DOS. (Which my bus terminal ironically still uses.)

quote:
in the long term, i agree; MS needs to make its own stuff better. but as a short-term solution, they could have done worse than using opera.


Microsoft's mobile OS's, be it Tablets and/or Phones are in many ways, far superior to that of Android and iOS in many aspects.
Sure, it has a few shortcomings, but so does Android and iOS.

On the desktop side and because I am a gamer, there isn't any competition to Windows.

Keep in mind that Opera isn't replacing Internet Explorer on Microsoft's higher-end devices like the Nokia Lumia, it's only going to be used in super low-end, cost sensitive devices for emerging markets, so you can keep the scare tactics to a minimum.


RE: ?
By michael67 on 8/21/2014 9:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
Cant you read?
quote:
Announced on Thursday, Microsoft has decided to license Opera Mini as the official browser for its S30, S40, and Asha Symbian Nokia phones , which can be viewed either as entry-level budget smartphone devices or smartphone-like feature phones.

Symbian is Nokia's legacy mobile operating system that they used before WP, they used it on phones like the N95.

Now it's used on "smartphone-like feature phones", the sub $100 phones, that do just a little bit more then the old fashion dumb phones.

MS properly wane sell those lines, and the first thing they have to do is trim the fat off, why put time, effort and money in developing a better browser, if you can cheaper just buy a license to use Opera for the budget Symbian OS run phones.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_30
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_40
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_Asha_platform


RE: ?
By speedfriend on 8/22/14, Rating: 0
lol
By sprockkets on 8/22/2014 2:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't ms know that opera has switched to using Google's blink engine? Apparently not!




RE: lol
By michael67 on 8/25/2014 9:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blink_(layout_engine)

Blink is not only Google's engine, Google is just a big contributor of the development of Blink.

quote:
Blink is a web browser engine developed as part of the Chromium project by Google with contributions from Opera Software ASA, Intel, Samsung and others. It was first announced in April 2013. It is a fork of the WebCore component of WebKit and is used in Chrome starting at version 28, Opera (15+), Amazon Silk and other Chromium based browsers as well as Android's (4.4+) WebView and Qt's upcoming WebEngine.

Why invent a new wheel, if you can pick one of the shelf for cheaper, even if its developed by your competition, your a idiot to waste money, just because of your pride!


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