Reports surfaced that Facebook was looking to acquire Norwegian Internet browser company, Opera, for as much as $1 billion. The deal, which would pit Facebook against the likes of Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL), could give the social media site control over Opera’s highly-rated cellphone Web browser and help monetize the mobile platform.
The software is available on most phones, including the iPhone and the BlackBerry, and works on various operating systems, including Android, giving Opera the reach Facebook is seeking. The browser is popular for its ability to compress data by as much as 90%, saving consumers on data charges. It also has the technology to better display ads, a key factor for the company, which has struggled to convert its rapidly increasing traffic from mobile platforms to revenue. Opera, which has about 200 million Mobile and Mini subscribers, has built a significant market share in key emerging markets, such as India, Brazil and Asia, where Facebook has been generally weak.
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