Home > Desktop, Opera Mobile > Should Microsoft make an offer to buy Opera?

Should Microsoft make an offer to buy Opera?

December 20, 2006

About a year ago there were lots of rumors of an Opera acquisition by Google and Microsoft.

Matt Hartley, from OSWeekly, wrote a column today titled “Microsoft and Opera: A Marriage Made In Heaven”. In his column, he discusses why Microsoft should ditch Internet Explorer (IE), and buy the Opera desktop browser. And, likewise, use the Opera Mobile browser instead of Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE) for their Windows Mobile Smartphones.

Should Microsoft approach Opera with an acquisition offer, I doubt Opera would even consider it (at this time). It’s more likely, I believe, that Opera will license the browser’s rendering engine to Microsoft, like it does with Adobe’s Creative Suite (CS2).

For too long the Opera browser has been the non-Microsoft product. Becoming part of Microsoft wouldn’t go well with many of the longtime Opera users.

At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted saying to a Norwegian Newspaper in relations to the rumors about Microsoft buying Opera “in the first place, I do not know if they would be interested, and furthermore every government in the world would have reacted strongly if we did it.”

The controversial John Dvorak also made similar suggestions last year for Microsoft to seriously consider buying Opera. He got lots of flack from that, I’m sure Matt will too.

Categories: Desktop, Opera Mobile
  1. December 20, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    I’d switch to Firefox. And I hate Firefox.

  2. Bo
    December 20, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    As Opera would still be the best browser around (at least for some time) I would stick to it.

    I’d just hope MS would not drop UNIX-Support.

    Luckly this is just speculation.

  3. Je
    December 20, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    Actually this does not bother me. I use Opera just because is great, and not because is not made by MS. Heck, the commercial banners didn’t bothered me one year ago. So why switch?
    I tried with using FF, but only if you consider the RSS support, you’ll see that Opera is the best.
    The only drawback are the my company webbased applications that are rendered bad in Opera. Better than FF, but not good comparing to IE.

  4. Nigel
    December 20, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    No! That would be a disaster. How many CSS bugs could they implement on Patch Tuesday? I think I’d give up.

  5. December 20, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    If it’s the same developers, community, spirit, dedication, innovation, and commitment that’s going on in Norway, then the only thing I’d complain about is the new logo and default skin.

    If however, they take all the source code to Redmond, assign it to a hundreds of developers across a slew of deparments with more management layers than developers, and the support forums turns into “Knowledge Base Article Number 129098123…”

    …well then, I’d just roll this version 9.10 until the wheels fell off and then try out that new-fangled Firefox I’ve been hearing so much about..maybe IE7 if I could get cached browsing history and mouse gestures.

  6. December 20, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    I’d like it, just because they’d make it part of the OS and then suddenly 95% of desktops would have excellent support for SVG, CSS, DOM, XHTML, etc. Think of the money this would save web developers…

    Of course this speculation doesn’t cover what MS’s agenda would do to Opera’s quality…

  7. December 20, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    …we also see Opera in the game and kicking like mad to catch up to the browser community.

    I’ve caught them for a long time. When is going to be ok to just have a small, effective, dedicated, growing marketshare? What do they have to “catch-up” to? I’m sure Thomas Mahon, bespoke savile row tailor isn’t worried about “Catching up” to the Men’s Warehouse as far as the number of people wearing his clothes (or insert any name brand you can think of *is* good, *and* sells a lot) Like Opera, his style of tailoring may not be for everyone (I thought choice=good, monopolies=bad?), but the people it is for is a perfect fit.
    …now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Opera “catching up” at all- I’m happy everytime a new deal or announcement is made.

  8. December 20, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    I really don’t like that idea… Google I could of stomach it. Any software that can rise from the ashes should be able to rise above the others and become independant. Be your own master… it’s like that uTorrent purchase… I still love their app but if BitTorrent changes it they will loose me.

  9. Ebola_Influenza
    December 20, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    i don’t often feel like cursing, but…not only “no”, but “#@&^%$# @^%$#@ no!”. if ms were to offer to buy opera, it would be the end of a great product (of course it would take time, but that’s beyond the point). what would happen to opera on linux et al? only ms would benefit. even its users would only gain so much. we have the power of opera now on windows, why mess it up for all others?

  10. December 20, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    When is going to be ok to just have a small, effective, dedicated, growing marketshare?

    When it’s enough to convince everyone to test their websites in Opera instead of ignoring or actively blocking it.

  11. December 20, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    No… I disagree (well, except the actively blocking part… I agree with that). I understand the old joke about “the nice thing about standards are that there are so many of them to choose from…” but I still think open, consistent standards are the way to go. How standards are interpreted seem to be the biggest problem. I have no problem with people ignoring Opera. So opera doesn’t make your test matrix, I can see that… I mean, you should probably commit more time and resources to testing, but that’s pie in the sky in the real world. But if we hit a… oh, I don’t know… *standard* then it’s the browser responsibility to respond correctly.

    So what then is a good enough marketshare to be considered good enough to test a browser? I thought choice was good? I thought we were supposed to move away from locking into one “view” of what a browser was supposed to be?

    I’d much rather have everyone test their websites in a standards compliant checklist (what interpretation of the standards? *shrug* -I don’t know) and when Opera or lynx, or flock or Opera mini/mobile doesn’t show it correctly I can post to the browser devs. I’ve chosen the browser I’m using, so I’ll choose another one if the vendor can’t fix the problem. But that’s between my browser vendor and what I’m willing to put up with… not me vs. every website in the world.

    I know about “the real world” and the legacy upon legacy of faulty, crooked, or otherwise different interpretations (of what the “alt” and “title” attributes are supposed to be) of stadards are for. But if all this sounds too idealistic, than I think anyone who clamors for “Free, Open Software” that you can take and modify as you see fit is fooling themselves into another generation of vendor-locked, “optimized for Firefox” kind of world… since nobody is going to let your recompiled hybrid, tailored for your needs browser in the front door of their website (assuming you actually modify it enough to no longer be recognized as “mozilla/firefox”). But if it’s all about the “freedom to choose,” what good is it if there’s only one or two choices?

  12. December 20, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Kelson- I didn’t mean for that to sound confrontational… I’ve been writing this a lot lately and may have gotten carried away.

    I do have a lot of respect for you and your points of view and ability to see the best of all worlds…afterall- I once nominated you to run for President! …of what, i’m not really sure 🙂

  13. December 20, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    …I think if we really want to have an alternative browser alliance, it should be “for all” browsers, platforms, devices, mobiles, etc. Not just for the handful that websites want to take the time to test in.

    Boy.. Where is that topic at again? Oh- there it is! MS buying Opera! uhhhh it’s probably a bad thing.


  14. Steve Barker
    December 20, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    My main reason for using Opera, is that its independant, i.e nothing to do with Microsoft. It is also the best browser, but if Microsoft sold it that would not be enough to use it!

  15. Martin
    December 20, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    I don’t know if I like the idea of MS buying Opera, but I DO like the idea of MS buying the rendering engine, like adobe, with Opera still controlling the browser. This would be a great gift to developers. A “We’re sorry” gift. 😀

  16. diz
    December 21, 2006 at 1:00 pm

    I want microsoft to licence engine from Opera and put it into Xbox360. Sadly this is not very probable 😦

  17. xErath
    December 21, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    Microsoft, despite it’s monopoly, is a bad software company, completly out of course, and their programmer can’t do anything right (*cough* IE, Vista *cough*). That would kill Opera completly.

  18. Grey
    December 22, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    So what? We’ve known that since last year. Is there any news for this subject or did you just want to warm it up for those that didn’t get it last time?

    MS has been working on IE7, and unless they want their browser to steadily loose market share by inactiveness, there will be an IE.next(). MS is unlikely to license or buy Opera and I don’t think it will ever happen. And I think if they tried, other companies that have interest in the independence of Opera will prevent the company to be bought (note though that there is absolutely no probability that MS will ever try).

  19. December 22, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    Grey, the article I linked to was recently published.

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