Is Facebook Going to Buy Opera, Make Its Own Browser?

Sat, May 26, 2012, by Techguru3

Browsers

The Facebook spending spree may be continuing as a new report says the social networking giant might be looking to buy Norwegian company Opera Software.

Facebook, Opera

The Facebook page of Opera Software’s browser. (Facebook / May 25, 2012)

Now fully under the microscope of Wall Street as well as Main Street investors, Facebook is trying to solve its mobile monetizing problems and has been gobbling up various companies in recent months to increase its presence in the world of smartphones.

If the latest report is accurate, the Menlo Park-based company’s next target could be Opera.

The website Pocket-lint reported early Friday that it’d been told by “one of its trusted sources” that Facebook is interested in Opera for its popular Web browser.

The Opera browser is available on desktop computers, various phones and tablets and even theNintendo Wii, and the company claims to have more than 200 million users, according to the report.

As of last week, Google’s Chrome is the top browser, followed by Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple’s respective browsers, and Thursday, Yahoo jumped into the latest round of the “browser wars” with its new product, named Axis.

“The move — which would no doubt send shivers of panic through Google — although unlikely to affect Chrome’s continued growth in the short term, would see the two tech giants battle it out on your desktop and mobile for web surfing as well as social networking,” Pocket-lint said.

Adding credibility to the rumor is a report by The Next Web that includes a source close to Opera saying the company has been looking for potential buyers.

The anonymous source said Opera is talking to possible buyers and has instituted a hiring freeze, which The Next Web said “is a surefire sign that something big is about to happen — or at least that Opera wants something big to happen.”

The source could not confirm to The Next Web whether Facebook was one of the potential buyers, but did say such a deal would make sense.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the company did not wish to comment on the rumored purchase; a spokesman for Opera said the company does not respond to market rumors.

It’ll be interesting to see whether this deal is real and, if so, when it could drop.

It’s the Friday before Memorial Day, which is celebrated in the home countries of both companies, so a lot of people won’t be working or working too hard for the next couple of days. But as anyone in the media world knows, times like that can be the perfect time to drop big news.

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