Pocket-lint has a rumour up that Facebook is interested in acquiring Opera to kickstart their own move into the browser market, to compete with Mozilla, Google, and Microsoft. While it would mean much-deserved recognition for Opera, I actually hope such a deal does not go through – for entirely selfish reasons.
Opera is one of those products that I have the utmost respect for, even though I personally don’t even like or use it. As a company, Opera has been incredibly innovative, and has always been at the very forefront of supporting the open web and web standards. However, I find the browser has just too many features for my own liking, and as such, it just isn’t for me.
Still, it makes sense Facebook would look in Opera’s general direction if it wanted to move into the browser market. Opera is already quite popular in certain countries, and has a very strong mobile presence, too. On top of that, there’s probably loads of talented employees and know-how at Opera, since it’s a company that has been in the browser business for longer than Google even exists. The Pocket-lint rumour comes from a “trusted source”, so take it all with a grain of salt.
I hope such a deal does not go through, and for a very simple reason: in essence, Opera is the only truly independent browser maker out there. Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari are all led by giant corporations, while Mozilla receives large sums of money from Google. I’m not saying Mozilla is currently nothing but a Google puppet – quite the contrary – but it is a fact that they receive most of their income from Google.
This leaves Opera as a kind of last bastion of independent browser development, and a last resort to flee to once everything else starts to suck. If Opera were picked up by Facebook, this escape clause would cease to exist. I’d hate to see Opera get stuffed with Facebook crap; Facebook is a website to me, and nothing more.
We’ll see just how valid this rumour is, but assuming Facebook wants to get into the browser business, Opera is the only logical choice. I’m just hoping it doesn’t go through.