Opera-AH-1

Opera’s CEO Says Sale to the Chinese Wasn’t His Choice

February 26, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

When it comes to software, there are fewer pieces as important to us as our web browsers. For the vast majority of average users – and even some more advanced users – a web browser will provide the majority of functionality that they need from their computer. Which is why it’s not surprising that there are so many different web browsers out there – mobile or otherwise – even in the face of Google Chrome’s total dominance of the browser market. Opera is a company that’s been going for a long time, and while older readers will no doubt remember their fairly comprehensive desktop browser, but younger users will know them for their mobile offerings. The firm has a comprehensive mobile offering that competes well with Chrome and specializes in helping people to save data on their devices.

To start off 2016, the Opera firm was sold off to a Chinese consortium of different companies for around $1.2 Billion. The sale hasn’t gone through entirely just yet, but the deal is as good as done at this point. This caused a little controversy around the Western world, as Opera has long been known as a proud Norwegian company, and one of the few independent software firms left standing up against Microsoft and Google where Internet software is concerned. There was a lot of miscommunication surrounding the deal, and as TechCrunch found during Mobile World Congress, the deal might not have been the decision of those that run Opera day-to-day. Speaking to Opera’s CEO, Lars Boilesen and the CTO, Håkon Wium Lie (who is also credited as inventing Cascading Style Sheets, known as CSS the world over) it became apparent the deal was the result of the shareholders.

Boilesen came right out with it by telling TechCrunch: “basically, the shareholders — they decided to initiate this process. It was kind of their decision. It wasn’t our decision.” It’s a shame to see such a company, one with a rich history that dates back to 1995, sold off in such a throwaway decision, but it might not all be bad news for the company. After all, there’s nothing to suggest that this Chinese consortium of companies will change the way that Opera does business, but it seems more than likely that the Opera we know and love might not be here in a year or two’s time.