Opera Software

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Opera Software ASA
Allmennaksjeselskap (OSE: OPERA)
Industry Software
Founded June 22, 1995; 20 years ago (1995-06-22)
Headquarters Oslo, Norway
Key people
Lars Boilesen (CEO)
Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner (founder)
Geir Ivarsøy (co-founder, deceased)
Håkon Wium Lie (CTO)
Products Web browser
Revenue Increase US$ 300.1 million (2013)[1]
Increase US$ 067.5 million (2013)[1]
Increase US$ 060.3 million (2013)[1]
Number of employees
1039 (2013) [1]
Website operasoftware.com

Opera Software ASA is a Norwegian software company, primarily known for its Opera family of web browsers. Across multiple platforms, Opera browsers have more than 350 million users worldwide.[1] Opera Software is also involved in promoting Web standards through participation in the W3C. The company has its headquarters in Oslo, Norway and is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange. The company also has offices in Sweden, Poland, the People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Iceland, Singapore and the United States.[2] Opera's stated vision is "to deliver the best Internet experience on any device."[3]


Opera Software was founded as an independent company on August 30, 1995 by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy.[4] The company was created to continue what was originally a research project at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecommunications company.

Opera Software's first product, the Opera web browser version 2.1 for Windows, was released in 1997. Opera Software had an IPO in February 2004, and was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange March 11, 2004.[4]

In an attempt to capitalize on the emerging market for Internet-connected handheld devices, a project to port the Opera browser to more platforms was started in 1998.[4] Opera 4.0, released in 2000,[5] included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and platforms.[6]

Up to this point, the Opera browser was trialware and had to be purchased after the trial period ended. But version 5.0 (released in 2000) saw the end of the trial period requirement. Instead, Opera became ad-sponsored, displaying advertisements to users without a license,[7] which was commonly criticized as a barrier to gaining market share. In newer versions, the user was allowed a choice of generic graphical banners or text-based targeted advertisements provided by Google based upon the page being viewed.

In 2004, Opera Software settled a lawsuit with an "international corporation" paying $12.75 million USD to Opera. It was speculated that the "international corporation" named in the statement announcing the settlement was Microsoft, which had previously blocked Opera users from correctly viewing MSN.com.[8]

On January 12, 2005, Opera Software announced that it would offer free licenses to higher education institutions[9] — a change from the previous cost of $1,000 USD for unlimited licenses. Schools that opted for the free license included Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, University of Oxford, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Duke University.

With version 8.5 (released in 2005) the advertisements were removed entirely and primary financial support came through revenue from Google (Opera's default search engine).[10]

In August 2005, the company introduced Opera Mini, a Java ME based web browser for mobile phones originally marketed not to end users but to mobile network operators to pre-load on phones or offer for their subscribers.[11]

In 2007, Opera filed a complaint against Microsoft in the European Commission, alleging that bundling Internet Explorer with Microsoft Windows is harmful to both the consumer and to other web browser companies.[12] The complaint resulted in the creation of BrowserChoice.eu.[13]

In 2012, Opera Software and Bharti Airtel signed an agreement to provide Opera Mini browsers to the Airtel mobile customers.[14]

In 2013 Opera Software decided to not use their in-house rendering engine for the Desktop Browser anymore. From Version 15 on the Opera browser for computers would be using the Blink rendering engine, a fork of Webkit developed together with Google.

In 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Opera won Global Mobile Award of Best Mobile Product, Initiative or Service in Emerging Markets for Opera Web Pass and Sponsored Web Pass.[15]

In April 2015 Opera Software decided to centre development of the Opera Desktop browser in Poland.[16]

In September 2015, the company announced a rebrand with a new three-dimensional “O” logo and brand identity. In the process, the company logotype changed from "Opera Software" to “Opera”.[17]


On January 20, 2010 Opera Software announced that it had acquired AdMarvel, Inc.

On April 30, 2010, Opera acquired Australian web email provider FastMail.FM.[18] In September 2013, the staff of FastMail bought the company back from Opera.[19]

On September 19, 2011, Opera Software announced that it had acquired mobile application platform Handster, the leading independent app store for Android apps at that time,[20] in order to strengthen the Opera Mobile Store's offerings to consumers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers.[21]

On February 15, 2013, Opera announced that it had acquired Skyfire for $155 million. Opera primarily eyed the company for its video optimization technologies (such as its Rocket Optimizer platform), which would complement its own content optimization technologies.[22]

On June 4, 2014, Opera announced that it is acquiring AdColony to bolster its mobile video ad capabilities. Opera is paying $75 million in cash for AdColony, plus potential earn-out payments of up to $275 million.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Opera Software ASA – Annual Report 2013" (PDF). Opera Software ASA. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 9 Jan 2015. 
  2. ^ "Opera Contact". Opera Software. 
  3. ^ "About Opera". Opera Software. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c Opera Software - Milestones
  5. ^ "Affiliated Organization of Firefox and Mozilla" (PDF). Mozilla Japan. 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2007. 
  6. ^ Schenk, Mark (6 January 2007). "Opera browser version history". Retrieved 24 October 2007. 
  7. ^ Lettice, John (6 December 2000). "Opera browser goes free with version 5.0 launch". The Register. Retrieved 11 October 2007. 
  8. ^ [1], URL access on April 20, 2006.
  9. ^ Students surf safely with Opera: Opera site license free for educational institutions, January 12, 2005, retrieved on October 25, 2005
  10. ^ Baker, Loren (20 September 2005). "Opera Goes Free with Help from Google". Search Engine Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2007. 
  11. ^ Have WAP but want WEB? Introducing Opera Mini for mobile phones, URL accessed on April 20, 2006
  12. ^ Dignan, Larry (13 December 2007). "Opera files complaint against Microsoft in the EU over IE, Windows bundle; CTO makes Web standards case". ZDNet. Retrieved 15 December 2007. 
  13. ^ "Microsoft to randomly generate EU browser ballot list". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  14. ^ "Opera Software". Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  15. ^ "GSMA ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE 2015 GLOBAL MOBILE AWARDS". Retrieved 2015-03-04. 
  16. ^ M, Haavard (21 April 2015). "Goodbye, Opera!". A Blog From Outside the Trenches. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  17. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=8&v=KvJJk5Z-iZE Revealing the new Opera brand
  18. ^ Opera acquires FastMail.fm, URL accessed on April 30, 2010
  19. ^ Rob Mueller (September 25, 2013). "Exciting news: FastMail staff purchase the business from Opera". FastMail. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  20. ^ Jennifer Van Grove (September 19, 2011). "Opera Buys Top Mobile App Store Handster". Mashable. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Opera acquires Handster Inc.". Opera Press Releases (Press release). Opera Software ASA. September 19, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Opera Eyes Speedier Mobile Web With Skyfire Acquisition". PC Magazine. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  23. ^ "Opera Buys Mobile Video Ad Firm AdColony". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 

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