Why Facebook Might Buy Opera

By | May 29, 2012 | 33 Comments


Why Facebook Might Buy OperaWith all the speculations floating around, you might be wondering that it doesn’t make much sense for the Facebook to buy Opera Software, however, this is not exactly the case.

According to the recent rumors, the social networking giant is working on a Facebook Phone (FacePhone, if you will), which, as you might guess, requires a decent web browser and this is exactly where Opera shines.

So what is known about the phone? Not much, however, Facebook is said to be hiring the former Apple iPhone engineers while Microsoft, which owns a 1.6% stake in the company, tries to convince them to use its Windows Phone operating system and hey, it already has a deep FB integration built in.

Although it makes sense for Facebook to go with the Android as well, thanks to its openness, we are not exactly sure if that’s a good idea in the long term, considering that Google is its main competitor, thanks to their recently launched Google Plus web site.

What do you think? Will the Facebook phone succeed and does it make sense for them to acquire Opera?

Personally, we think that it is doomed to fail, just like Microsoft’s KIN or HTC’s ChaCha.


About (Author Profile)


Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • MAPS

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  • Tiago Sá

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES

    • MAPS

      Do you want Opera to be the 2nd rockmelt browser?

      • Asknobody

        He is FF fanboy and he doesn’t want to wait when FF market share will fall below Opera’s (that will happen in about a year)

        • Tiago Sá

           Firefox sucks. All browsers in the market are piles of absolute steaming crap.

          • Ichann

            Would like for you to make one.

            We can call it : Sále

  • http://twitter.com/WebFly_Software WebFly Software

    Nice interesting article.Thank you for sharing.

  • Guest

    The part about Opera freezing hiring was made up so the part about Facebook is most likely bullshit too.

  • Jorjy27

    To me it doesn’t even make any sense. :S

  • Firefoxer

    Opera’s best bet is to be bought by someone smart. Only in this case it will come to something good.

  • Dan7960

    Facebook is not going to buy opera… where did this nonsense come from?!

  • Nobody

    buy opera? why?! webkit is for free to take and adapt. absorbing opera would cost much more than developing webkit fb branch. the layoff costs alone (youd buy opera CORE engineers, and fire all others) are in milions for company 600+ strong.

    and opera biggest strenght now is the processing dream machine for opera-mini not the dead browser that can handle test cases pretty well but nothing real-life really

    accidentally fb has the biggest hosting system earth had ever seen, so why buy another? hire its designer instead if you want this knowledge that much, but id bet my monthly salary and say: fb already knows how to do that (go and read about their servers used in datacenters and tell me that they are stupid..)

    btw – not an fb user myself i really cant see a reason for fb phone.. is it targeted at 16yo chicks and chick-look-alike boys with no brain and no life?

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/max1cp?feature=mhum Maxim

      umad?

    • Ichann

      I can see this ‘phone’ thing failing. I mean it is a device going up against smartphones. Core functions being facebook (Am I wrong?). It is going to be that microsoft phone thing targetted at the teens. Now, what was it called?

      • Nobody

         it was called ‘kin’ and except for its short life (it was an experiment anyway) it had some merits. i like the physical build of this phone (bought one just for giggles, used, was quite cheap), like its form factor (would benefit from slightly lager form factor and definately better screen), but the software below was quite innovative and some ot these ideas are now present in current phones

        ms targeting it at teens was a marketing bluff, it was a ‘Dieppe moment’ for MS, before D-Day (win phone). and as with Dieppe there were casualties but the lesson learnt is invaluable

    • jayjam

      I didn’t know that Webkit developers were free. Don’t they need food to survive, since they apparently work without getting a paycheck?

      Also, I’m sure Facebook would love to compete with Apple and Google for the top Webkit talent.

      • Nobody

         where did i write webkit developers are free? read it again and see that i clearly mention the cost of developing fb webkit branch being most likely lower than cost of aquiring opera and then dumping 95% of their workfoce (fb does not need it) right away, or even worse – keeping them employed for like 2 years of safe period. what is cheaper – hiring 20 well paid webkit devs or hiring 600 well paid norge employees that you do not plan to use in any way?

        and webkit being opensource has nice tendency to being updated for you by other players. it has its own issues, but i’m sure you are not capable of understanding it if you cant understand what is written few paragraphs up the text

        facebook has some issues with hiring the top crop, but opera guys are.. well, how to put it, guys that develop irrelevant browser..

        • jayjam

          You wrote that “webkit is for free to take and adapt” which is obviously wrong if it costs money to do anything with it, which it does.

          Does Opera only consist of 5% browser engineers?

          Hiring 20 Webkit engineers might be hard in itself when Google and Apple have already taken all the good ones. So you get second-rate Webkit devs, which doesn’t sound like a good thing.

  • http://hector-macias.blogspot.com Hector Macias Ayala

    This is written from the point of view of somebody that barely knows FB plans and completely ignores Operas philosophy, market and purpose, as we can see from reading this, Opera position is completely unknown to you, therefore you take on account only FB view.

    Opera is NOT a 3 year old start-fuck anybody can just buy…

    FB is almost completely irrelevant to Opera, whose market extends faaaaar beyond social networking and/or mobile, and can easily do without. Not ot mention the secondary market the PC represents for them.

    So you better read a bit of Operas history from 1994 because your ignorance on the matter SHINES.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shakethebabyass Eric Gossett

    Been an Opera user for several years and if Facebook has any of it’s fingers on it I will not use it at all.

  • cyberstream_us

    According to the recent rumors, a social networking giant…

    “the”?

    I don’t see why FB would have to acquire Opera even if they were developing a phone. They could simply make a contract with Opera.

  • Yoyo

    Am I the only person like this motion ?
    I will use Opera even it got brought by google …..

  • Em

    1. Google+ is not a direct competitor to Facebook. That’s a frequent mischaracterization.

    2. Using a pre-existing OS makes sense. Then again, all Facebook really “needs” is a browser and a strong server-side API (which they have). They could be doing something similar to ChromeOS.

    3. Personally, I cannot see them choosing Presto over Webkit. Webkit is being developed without Facebook having to invest in it; development of Presto would cost them. Plus, Webkit gets all the shiny toys first.

    4. Counterpoint to 3. is that it’s not really the engine they’re looking for, they’re looking for a good mobile UI. Opera’s been doing good in that department.

    5. Contracting Opera to build a customized browser would be cheaper than buying the company.

    All in all, I’m not convinced FB has any plans to buy Opera. I’m guessing the idea has been discussed somewhere and people embellished it until the ‘possibility’ became a ‘story’ became a hype.

    As to whether FB buying Opera would be good for Opera and it users… depends on the command structure. If Opera is run as an independent unit, then all sides stand to gain. If not, well, I can only speak for myself. My substancial trust in Opera as a company would be eroded.

    • apád anyád

      They didn’t have a single good reason to buy instagram, yet they did it, for quite a sum.

      • Em

        We’ve been arguing in the context of a “Facebook Phone” here, so that’s what I addressed. I must admit that I can see why they purchased Instagram and I agree the same principle can be applied to Opera.

        Instagram was on the way to becoming the #1 photo sharing service on mobile, which cuts into FB’s business.

        Opera Mini is THE single most used mobile browser. However, it is primarily used on resource-starved phones; I’m not sure it would be a wise decision unless it is to be expected that current users of Opera Mini will acquire smart phones in the future (not too unlikely actually) and that they’ll use Opera Mobile (which is not the consumer’s choice, Opera Mobile is sold to carriers and OEMs). If they made a free version of Opera Mobile, now… that would make more sense, but still relies on users migrating from Mini to Mobile (and feature phones to smart phones).

        So they can “dominate” the mobile market, for a while. But they can’t really derive that much more money from it (at least, not that I can see).

        • Nobody

           there is no place for opera mini/mobile on the majority of smartphones – because of ‘just works’ factor. both android and ios have decent browsers, that – this is very important – are WIDELY supported by websites. they dont break, they dont fail. if user does not have any special requests that the default browser cannot deliver – there is no chance in hell that he will even think that he needs another browser

          market for non-ios and non-android smartphones are measured in tens of users, so good luck venturing there for money

          fb does not need opera long tern, and short term is also a problem, as opera simply sux on facebook and on most other pages. would fb buy it and then fight the uphill battle? what for – webkit is (almost) free and it WORKS

          opera mini has one strong point – the datacenter and protocols. this could be valuable if for some reasons fb would like to reduce costs. but these potential savings are modest at bests so why burden yourself with entire company? opera is 600 with various local branches. instagram was one garage company with ~20 people. cost, time, legal stuff – much less hassle than in opera’ case. why bother – approach core engineers, stun them with money, hire them, profit.

          • jayjam

            I think you forgot about a little something called emerging markets, where just about everyone is using a feature phone, and where it’s going to take a loooong time before smartphones take over. And even when they do they will have shitty networks.

          • Nobody

             check how exactly nokia is doing these days – they also believed strongly in the emerging markets power.

            reality is – these are very low margin markets, and given that most companies are no longer making dumbfones anymore, these are rapidly dying markets. would you buy dumbphone if cheapest andoird kirf is like 10bucks more expensive? same happens with networks, that are exactly oposite to shitty in new markets… what is shitty is rural US network infra, with something that americans call dropped calls.

            in new market there is no need to go trough 2g 3g and then various HxxxA(+) mutations and LTE. you buy LTE right away.. the ground for BTS’es costs more than BTSes themselves.. the same is with mobiles.

          • jayjam

            Nokia is being squeezed out of emerging markets by dirt cheap Chinese phone manufacturers. These markets are still growing, but Nokia is losing out.

    • http://hector-macias.blogspot.com Hector Macias Ayala

      Point 5 is part of the regular business for Opera, that would make sense, not buying he whole thing, and screwing us in the process.

    • jayjam

      “Google+ is not a direct competitor to Facebook.”

      Then what is it?

      “Webkit is being developed without Facebook having to invest in it; development of Presto would cost them.”

      If they want to use Webkit they will have to do actual work on it to adapt it to their needs. And they’ll be competing with Google and Apple for Webkit developers. That’s going to cost them.

  • Ichann

    I installed the latest Opera:

    I thought they fixed that CSS loading after text bug? I swear it was in a fix for one build. Why didn’t they carry it over?

    Can someone please reverse engineer this thing and make it work. Please.

  • grg

    Firefox has a better chance than Opera because they both start with an f :)