Opera Puts Facebook and Google in a Faceoff

Bangalore: Facebook has declared code red and is doing everything possible to take advantage of increasing number of people accessing Facebook through mobile platforms. In a takeover frenzy the latest buzz is that Facebook is interested in buying Opera, the Norwegian maker of the internet browser.

Facebook has been in discussions to buy the firm and so has been Google. This competition could push the price of Opera to $1 billion. "I am not pushing for a takeover." said Opera founder and top shareholder Jon S Von Tetzchner, reported The Pocket-Lint. Following these reports in the media Opera’s shares saw their highest jump in share value ever. Their shares rose 18 percent to 40.5 kroner giving it a market value of 4.85 billion kroner ($807 million).

Facebook needs a revival strategy instantly. Their market shares have gone further. The social network is also hitting the saturation point in developed nations. The next set of users for Facebook is expected to be from developing markets such as India and Nigeria where most people use simpler phones. For their sake Facebook needs to come up with a browser that makes accessing their website through cell phones an easier experience.

Coming up with their own browser would take a long time so the smart move would be to buy an already existing one. Interestingly Opera is the only important independently owned browser in the market. All the others were picked up by heavyweights such as Google, Apple and Yahoo.

Another reason for Facebook being interested in Opera could be their advanced mobile technology and 170 million Opera Mini users.  This gives the company a firm extensive commercial relationship with mobile phone manufacturers and operators.

This acquisition will not be an easy one because of Opera’s relationship with Google which is its default search partner worldwide outside Russia/CIS. If the company grows on its own, it can maintain parallel relationships with both the companies but the situation could get messy if one of them wanted complete control. All that is left for the world to do now is watch out what happens next. The tech ‘battle royale’ is on.