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Opera doles out $155m for rival browser maker Skyfire Labs


Things are hotting up at Norwegian software company Opera. Just a couple of days after announcing that it would be moving to the WebKit rendering engine, it revealed that it had bought out rival browser maker Skyfire Labs.

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Opera is believed to have pushed the deal, worth US$155-million, through in a bid to get hold of its Rocket Optimizer software, which reduces the size of video and other streaming media when broadcast across mobile networks.

Skyfire can detect when specific users are facing poor quality of experience or connections that need assistance, and, says Opera, can “intervene in milliseconds”. That’s something which will become increasingly important as more and more video content becomes available on the web.

Right now Skyfire licenses the software to operators in the US and is in talks with others outside the country. The Opera acquisition could help increase that international footprint.

The software will also become an important part of Opera’s Web Pass offering, which allows consumers to purchase data plans such as an unlimited “day pass” of apps and websites making use of video and data optimization.

“Opera and Skyfire are a natural fit,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “Both companies have evolved far beyond their browser roots. Skyfire adds capabilities to our portfolio around video, app optimization, smartphones and tablets, and strength in North America. With video expected to consume over two-thirds of global mobile bandwidth by 2015, and as time spent on Android and iOS apps explodes, we are excited to extend Opera’s solutions for operators.”

Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck will become VP of Operator Business for Opera but will also remain head of Skyfire, which is set to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera.

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