Opera buys Skyfire to combine mobile web browser powers

It’s been a busy week for the makers of the Opera web browser. First the company announced it would be dropping its Presto rendering engine and moving to Webkit. Now the company has spent $155 million to acquire rival browser maker Skyfire.

Skyfire for iPad

Like Opera, Skyfire has had a level of success in the mobile web browser market by offering features that you don’t get from default browsers on platforms like iOS and Android. Both companies have mobile browsers that support slow devices and slow internet connections by pre-rendering data on remote servers to save bandwidth before sending images and other content to your phone.

Skyfire also went a step further by developing software that converts Flash and other online video content into a mobile-friendly format and lets you kind of, sort of watch Flash content on an iPhone, among other things.

The company also offers a service called Rocket Optimizer that lets mobile operators save bandwidth by optimizing content before sending it to your mobile device.

By acquiring Skyfire, Opera will gain access to both the company’s mobile browser technology and Skyfire’s services developed for carriers, helping to strengthen the company’s portfolio of products in the mobile space.

As for Skyfire users, it doesn’t look like they’ll notice any changes… at least not right away. Skyfire will continue to operates as a separate company. It’ll just be a subsidiary of Opera. The Skyfire web browser will continue to be developed and supported.

  • nards barley

    How does/did Opera make money?

    • pete

      Tracking your usage through their pre-rendering proxy/server and selling the info?

    • Richard

      From Google for searches through the browser? From Nintendo in exchange for putting Opera on the Wii/DS? From cell phone manufacturers? I’m kind of surprised that they could afford to spend $155M on Skyfire, though.

    • Jenny

      Through ads and deals with manufacturers.