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December 23, 2005

Opera Denies Microsoft Buyout Rumors

Courtesy of TechWeb News

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Opera on Friday denied rumors that it was an acquisition target by Microsoft, which reportedly is interested in the Norwegian browser maker for its mobile phone software.

The reports of a possible purchase follow last week's chatter that Google was interested in the Oslo-based firm. That, too, has been denied by Opera.

"I don't know why these rumors are happening," said Opera spokesman Eskil Sivertsen Friday as he denied any acquisition was in the works. "My guess, frankly, is as good as yours."

The talk began early Friday when U.S.-based Web site CoolTechZone ran a story claiming that sources within Microsoft said the Redmond, Wash.-based developer had purchased Opera and would announce the acquisition shortly.

Microsoft was not available for comment Friday as its public relations firm was closed for the holidays.

One analyst noted that it would have been a smart move by Microsoft if the story had been true.

"For Microsoft, it's a very good move," wrote JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg on his blog earlier Friday. "It gives them some excellent technologies they can incorporate into Internet Explorer and that can help serve them well in their battles with Firefox.

"There's no doubt that Opera on Windows Mobile is a far better browser experience and it also allows Microsoft to push IE down to other phone platforms via the Java version of Opera Mini," Gartenberg continued.

Even Opera thinks that its mobile browser, dubbed "Opera Mini," is its crown jewel.

"The mobile space is where we make most of our revenue," said Opera's Sivertsen. "It's where we're the market leader."

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