Opera Software

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Opera Norway AS
ISINNO0010040611 Edit this on Wikidata
  • Software
  • Internet
PredecessorOtello Corporation Edit this on Wikidata
Founded1995; 25 years ago (1995) in Oslo, Norway
HeadquartersOslo, Norway
Key people
  • Zhou Yahui (CEO) & Chairman
  • Lin Song (COO)[1]
  • Frode Jacobsen (CFO)[2]
  • Jørgen Arnesen (EVP Mobile)[3]
  • Krystian Kolondra (EVP Browsers)[4]
  • Derrick Neuman (VP Investor Relations)[5]
  • Per Wetterdal (VP Global Business Development)[6]
ProductsOpera Browser
  • Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., Ltd. (Zhou Yahui) (48%)[7]
  • Qifei International Development Co. Limited (Qihoo 360) (27.5%)[8]
  • Keeneyes Future Holdings Inc (Zhou Yahui) (19.5%)[7][8]
  • Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund I L.P. (5%)[8]

Opera Norway AS is a Norwegian software company, primarily known for its desktop Opera web browser and its mobile counterpart Opera Mobile. Opera's total user base, including users of both its web browser and other services like Opera GX, exceeded 360 million monthly active users in March 2020.[9] The company is also involved in promoting Web standards through participation in the W3C.

Opera is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with additional offices in Sweden, Poland, and China.[10] It was demerged from its parent company Otello Corporation as part of the latter's divestiture of its web browser business. The company changed ownership when Otello (at the time, Opera Software ASA) sold its web-browser and consumer businesses along with the Opera brand to a Chinese group of investors in 2016, with the deal completing in November of that year.[11] On July 27, 2018, Opera Software went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange, raising $115 million in its initial public offering.[12]


Opera Software was founded as an independent company in Norway in 1995 by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy.[13] 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 2.10 for Windows, was publicly released in 1996. Opera Software had an IPO in February 2004, and first released on March 11, 2004.[contradictory]

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.[13] Opera 4.0, released in 2000,[14] included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and platforms.[15]

Up to this point, the Opera browser was trialware and had to be purchased after the trial period ended, however, this ended with version 5.0, released in 2000. Instead, Opera became ad-sponsored, displaying advertisements to users without a license,[16] 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.[17][18]

On 12 January 2005, Opera Software announced that it would offer free licenses to higher education institutions[19] — a change from the previous cost of US$1,000 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).[20]

In August 2005, the company introduced Opera Mini, a new 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.[21]

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.[22] The complaint resulted in the creation of BrowserChoice.eu.[23]

In 2012, Opera Software and Bharti Airtel signed an agreement to provide Opera Mini browsers to Airtel mobile customers.[24]

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

In March 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.[25] In April Opera Software decided to centre development of the Opera Desktop browser in Poland.[26] On April 12,[27] Opera TV AS (now Vewd Software AS[28][29]) was established to separate TV-related business from all other assets, which became part of Opera Software AS; both companies became wholly owned subsidiaries of Opera Software ASA (now Otello).[30] In September, 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”.[31]

On 10 February 2016, a group of Chinese investors offered US$1.2 billion ($8.31 per share) to buy Opera Software ASA,[note 1][32] though the deal reportedly did not meet regulatory approval.[33] On 18 July 2016, Opera Software ASA announced it had sold its browser, privacy and performance apps, and the Opera brand to Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund I Limited Partnership (a consortium of Chinese investors led by Beijing Kunlun Tech Co and Qihoo 360) for an amount of US$600 million.[33] The transaction for sale of Opera's consumer business was approved on 31 October 2016 by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.[34] On 4 November 2016, Golden Brick Capital Private Equity Fund I L.P. completed the acquisition.[35]

After divesting itself off the Opera browser and brand, Opera Software ASA[note 1] changed its name to Otello Corporation ASA.[36]

In January 2017, the company introduced Opera Neon, a new concept browser that is intended as an exploration of browser design alternatives. The browser is built on top of the Blink engine similar to the original Opera browser, and it is available for Windows and macOS.

In January 2018, Opera launched Opera News, an AI-driven news app dedicated to African users. It reached more than a million downloads in less than a month.[37]

In April 2018, the company released a new mobile browser called Opera Touch. It includes an innovative user interface focused on ease of use and one-handed browsing.[38]


In September 2019, the company reported that nearly $56.4M of its revenue was made from their Fintech business area,[39] which now comprises over 42% of its total revenue, after its combined browser market share fell around 30% since its IPO in mid-2018. In January 2020, Hindenburg Research, a forensic financial research organisation, revealed that this is mainly related to predatory short-term loan products in Kenya, India, and Nigeria. According to the report, "most of Opera's lending business is operated through apps offered on Google's Play Store. In August [2019], Google tightened rules to curtail predatory lending and, as a result, Opera's apps are now in black and white violation of numerous Google rules[40]," and that the company's "entire line of business is at risk of disappearing or being severely curtailed when Google notices," as well as the fact that "instead of disclosing to investors that its “high-growth” microfinance segment could be imperiled by these new rules, Opera instead immediately raised $82 million in a secondary offering without disclosing Google's changes to investors." Despite the controversy, Open Software has also launched a loan app for customers in Mexico[41]. Opera Software's CEO and Chairman, Zhou Yahui, was also recently affiliated with Qudian, a Chinese firm also involved in loans, which saw its US stock plummet after accusations of fraud and illegal lending practices.[42]

Discontinued products[edit]

In February 2018, after previously announcing that the service and app would be shut down, the Opera Max app, a VPN based mobile data compression service, was sold to Samsung. It was rebranded as Samsung Max, but will only be compatible with eligible Samsung Galaxy smartphones going forward.[43]


  1. ^ a b Opera Software ASA (now Otello Corporation ASA) and Opera Software AS are different companies.


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  2. ^ "Frode Jacobsen". Bloomberg.
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  5. ^ "Derrick Nueman". WSJ Markets.
  7. ^ a b "昆仑万维参股公司Opera Limited拟赴美上市". Reuters (in Chinese). July 2, 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
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  14. ^ "Affiliated Organization of Firefox and Mozilla" (PDF). Mozilla Japan. 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  15. ^ Schenk, Mark (6 January 2007). "Opera browser version history". Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  16. ^ Lettice, John (6 December 2000). "Opera browser goes free with version 5.0 launch". The Register. Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  17. ^ Hansen, Evan (May 24, 2004). "Microsoft behind $12 million payment to Opera". CNET. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  18. ^ Hansen, Evan (May 24, 2004). "Opera wails about MSN problem". CNET. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  19. ^ Students surf safely with Opera: Opera site license free for educational institutions Archived 2012-05-29[Timestamp length] at Archive.today, January 12, 2005, retrieved on October 25, 2005
  20. ^ Baker, Loren (20 September 2005). "Opera Goes Free with Help from Google". Search Engine Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  21. ^ Have WAP but want WEB? Introducing Opera Mini for mobile phones Archived 2006-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, URL accessed on April 20, 2006
  22. ^ Dignan, Larry (13 December 2007). "Opera files complaint against Microsoft in the EU over IE, Windows bundle; CTO makes Web standards case". ZDNet. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  23. ^ "Microsoft to randomly generate EU browser ballot list". Ars Technica. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  24. ^ "Opera Software". Retrieved 7 June 2012.
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  28. ^ "Global Leader In Enabling OTT, Opera TV, Acquired By Moore Frères & Company" (Press release).
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  30. ^ "To the General Meeting of Opera Software ASA and Opera Demerger AS" (PDF). OperaSoftware.com. KPMG AS. December 18, 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
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  32. ^ "Chinese Group Bids $1.2 Billion for Company Behind Opera Web Browser". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  33. ^ a b "Opera browser sold to a Chinese consortium for $600 million". Engadget.com. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
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  35. ^ "Successful closing of the Transaction". Newsweb.no.
  36. ^ Hughes, Matthew (2017-12-18). "Opera Software ASA rebrands to Otello Corporation after selling its browser business (UPDATE)". The Next Web. Retrieved 2018-04-21.
  37. ^ Workman, Dean (February 7, 2018). "Opera news app hits 1 million downloads in 4 weeks". IT News Africa. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  38. ^ Lardinois, Frederic (April 25, 2018). "Opera launches a new mobile browser". Techcrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  39. ^ "Opera Limited announces third quarter 2019 financial results". www.sec.gov. November 14, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-06.
  40. ^ "Opera reportedly has multiple predatory loan apps in the Play Store with interest rates of up to 876%". Android Police. 2020-01-21. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  41. ^ "El fabricante de navegadores Opera ahora presta en México mediante una app móvil". Credito Titan. 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  42. ^ "Opera: Phantom of the Turnaround – 70% Downside". Hindenburg Research. 2020-01-16. Retrieved 2020-02-06.
  43. ^ "Samsung rescues data-saving privacy app Opera Max and relaunches it as Samsung Max". VentureBeat. 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2018-02-23.

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