Opera's Future: Skyfire acquisition

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 15, 2013
Updated • Feb 15, 2013

Norwegian company Opera Software, most known for its line of web browsers it produces for desktop and mobile operating systems, announced two days ago that it would switch from its internal engine Presto to WebKit in the near future. While that means a drop to three rendering engines that the top five browsers use, it could also give Opera breathing room to improve the browser's usability and functionality thanks to the shifting of resources. Some users who left a comment feared that Opera would sacrifice part of the browser's functionality to make the migration happen. It is too early to say if this will be the case, or if Opera will release the same browser with a better rendering engine.

The company today announced that it has acquired Skyfire, a company best known for its video optimization technologies that can boost the download of media contents on average mobile networks by up to 60%. The technology can not only reduce the size of video and other multimedia contents in realtime when needed, but also reduce the frustration that some mobile users experience when they try to load and view multimedia contents on their devices.

Skyfire can detect when specific users are facing poor quality of experience or connections that need assistance, and intervene in milliseconds. This can minimize the long start times, rebuffering, and stalls on video and audio streams that frustrate mobile users around the world.

Here is a Skyfire Rocket Optimzer demo video:

Skyfire Horizon is another product by the company that Opera may have been after. It resembles toolbars that you see on some websites that combine sharing options with news and advertisement opportunities. Only this time, it is on the phone and not on any particular website.

Here is a short video that demonstrates Horizon:

Horizon will certainly play well with Opera's own mobile advertising division which is making available a variety of mobile related advertising products. As far as Rocket Optimizer goes, it should make a perfect fit for Opera Software in several regards including Opera's own compression option Turbo as well as the company's relationship with mobile Internet providers around the world.

The deal has a volume of up to $155 million if performance-based goals are reached in the next three years.


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  1. steve said on February 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve used opera off and on for years but there were always problems with it that made me use other browsers. I feel that these recent developments with opera are a positive step towards success. I think they should rebrand opera as skyfire and work towards making stuff like the built in mail client into extensions.simplification of the browser and strong marketing can help them gain the success they deserve.

  2. kalmly said on February 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Ha ha. Oddly enough, your videos do not render in my Opera browser. If I want to see them, I have to resort to FF.

    1. sades said on February 15, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Works fine here, Opera 12.14.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Those are standard YouTube videos embedded on the site.

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