Is Facebook Circling Opera Software for a Possible Buy?
While there is no word from Facebook yet confirming the rumors, there are multiple reports going around the web saying that Facebook may be looking to acquire the Opera browser. According to English site Pocket-lint, "Pocket-lint has heard from one of its trusted sources that the social networking giant is looking to buy Opera Software, the company behind the Opera web browser." This, would, of course, put Facebook squarely in the browser game along with Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla and Google. But would the move make sense for Facebook?
When Google began development of its Chrome browser, many critics felt that it was too late to grab much market share among browsers, but Google proved the critics wrong. The company maintained that a best-of-breed browser could compete, and reasoned that with its own browser it could feed more users into its lucrative search-and-ad ecosystem.
Facebook could reap similar benefits by customizing a version of Opera to feed users into its social networking platform. The idea of a social network-focused browser is not new. Rockmelt is just one of several social browsers, and has been backed by web wunderkind Marc Andreessen.
Recent market share data from NetApplications shows Opera at just under two percent of global share among browsers. That's not huge share, but it's not nothing, either. Opera has consistently held a loyal audience of users, and has delivered many innovations common to modern browsers.
Interestingly, as Computerworld notes: "Net Applications pegged the browser's share of mobile at 12% for April." That figure (for the Opera Mini browser) is down from previous months, but is nevertheless worth looking into if Facebook is genuinely interested in Opera. Mobile platforms and applications are a clear part of Facebook's future, as evidenced by its expensive $1 billion acquisition of Instagram.
For now, the rumors about Facebook and Opera are only rumors, but if they turn out be true, look for Facebook to especially focused on Opera Mini. Now that Facebook has gone public, it's likely we'll see several acquisitions from the company.