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Opera Purchase Rumour Control 226

We've had several submissions this morning concerning a CoolTechZone article stating that Microsoft has purchased Opera, seemingly confirming the Dvorak article we reported on yesterday. However, roblimo has followed up with Opera and found that to be (so far), less than true. Opera PR person Berit Hanson told Slashdot by phone from Oslo, Norway, that "last week it was Google, this week it's Microsoft." She laughed and added, "If I was working for Microsoft I think I'd know it, but I'm still in Oslo, not Washington, still working for Opera." Which, of course, is not to say it won't happen ... it just hasn't happened yet.
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Opera Purchase Rumour Control

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  • Monopolistic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trip Ericson ( 864747 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:34AM (#14325998) Homepage
    I wonder if government regulators would allow Microsoft to buy Opera at all. Wouldn't they see a problem with the company that controls 80%+ of a market buying out one of the few surviving competitors they have? There's Firefox, AOL... uh... Netscape doesn't count since it's a blend of Firefox and IE...

    I mean, I don't know, I just can't see it being allowed.
    • Competition? In what? Seriously. Opera is hardly competition for Microsoft. The Internet Explorer browser does not represent any significant revenue stream for Microsoft. They make money selling operating systems, office suites, programming languages, a few games, and a few odd bits of hardware like mice, trackballs, keyboard, oh...and some little video game console named "Xbox".

      But browsers? Can anyone name the last time Microsoft sold a browser?
    • Netscape doesn't count since it's a blend of Firefox and IE...

      That's a new one.
      • You're misunderstanding the OP's cutesy construction -- he was saying that the AOL browser is a mix of IE and Firefox, not Netscape. (Not that that's necessarily true -- isn't it an IE core with AOL's own interface around it?)

        That's why annoying dweebs usually prefer ^H's in that context.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:34AM (#14325999)
    Microsoft to buy Opera... maybe... not yet, but it could happen someday.

    FASCINATING.

    • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @11:22AM (#14326542) Homepage
      I thought the story was that Opera had purchased some company called Rumour Control.
    • Slashdot story of the year? Okay. I'd actually give it that nomination if the award actually existed.

      You see, it's not a dupe, and the editing staff actually went out of their way to do a little real reporting and checked their facts with the official source.

      That's not to say the rumor's completely untrue (M$ may be investing or purchasing a minority stake in the company), but as far as we all know, you're not going to do much better for accuracy than this.
    • blah blah blah! always the nagging about slashdot (oh yeah right i should grow a sense of humour, right?)

      so far (shockingly!) slashdot at least verified whether this was a rumour or not. this is a proper newsreport, unlike the simple copy paste at digg.com for example. kudo's to /. this time.
    • I nominate this for Slashdot Story of the Year: Microsoft to buy Opera... maybe... not yet, but it could happen someday.

      AND! the editors apparently *did* something too! they telephoned Norway just to confirm that this is a rumor! after years and years of no fact checking, grammar/spelling checking, etc., they *called* *norway* to tell us "here's today's rumor!"

      </jerk> sorry... couldn't resist

  • by ceeam ( 39911 )
    They say that no news is good news but I say that news site reporting no-news is bad news.
  • Having sumbitted one of those articles myself, I am very relieved that it is not true (yet).
  • Mobile market (Score:4, Interesting)

    by uncl_bob ( 529354 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:37AM (#14326017) Journal
    As progster on osnews speculated: "Microsoft wants it for the mobile market and they'll kill the pc version of opera."

    • stupid stupid stupid microsoft, not realizing that the technology in opera completely blows away internet explorer in pretty much every way.

      although i find opera's quirkiness to get on my nerves sometimes.
      • Opera and Microsoft render pretty darn close... But it would make zero sense for microsoft to switch their browser. Microsoft's browser is not an application running on top of an operating system, it is an application intertwined with it. Opera or Firefox or any other browser can't natively run ActiveX, which means users can't point their browser to windowsupdate.com and have a browser run a client side tool to check if their system is updated, and seemlessly update their system.

        Of course, none of that is n
  • by trianglecat ( 318478 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:37AM (#14326018)
    Actually I heard that Opera was thinking of buying Microsoft.
  • by Piroca ( 900659 )

    Is for the Mozilla foundation buying Opera

  • by dioscaido ( 541037 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:42AM (#14326031)
    The way the IE team has been killing themselves lately developing IE7, I'd be pretty surprised if MS turned around and bought Opera. It would also seem like an odd time to make the buy, given that IE7 ships next year.
    • If MS actually wanted Opera technology, instead of paying $400 million for the company, they could just spend 1% of that and hire away a few top coders. They've done that to competitors many times. Otherwise, MS has been working to embed IE into the OS. The function of IE is to forestall the installation of a stand-alone browser that could serve as a platform for competing apps (e.g. office, email, media). They're not going to unbundle or replace it.
      • Interestingly enough, they could also likely just *license* presto from Opera for far less than attempting a hostile takeover. Again, I can't necessarily see why they'd want to, but it'd be interesting if they did some sort of presto based internet renderer for security, and Trident based render for local apps... Sort of like Netscape 8.
        • if they did some sort of presto based internet renderer for security,

          They would never do that, it would be admitting that IE is unfixably insecure. Businesses especially would take it as a cue to replace IE wholesale. They'll just keep patching and layering security over the holes as they appear.

    • Stranger things have happened.

      Some years back, Apple was killing its developers trying to get Copeland out of the door. It too was shipping "next year", but they canned it in the end and bought NeXTStep to base their next version on.

      Of course, MS always manage to hold to their release schedules, don't they? What's that? They don't?

      If the IE7 team pull it off, then it becomes one more potential competitor quashed. If they don't, then it's a good fall back position.
    • The way the IE team has been killing themselves lately developing IE7, I'd be pretty surprised if MS turned around and bought Opera.

      Hard work and self sacrifice begets more of the same.

      Get the work done but don't kill yourself. If your boss wants to kill you, find another job. It might take a year or two, but it's better to do that than to work to death.

    • Perhaps they could license some of Opera's technology (like rendoring or tab management) and itegrate them into IE (while not breaking IE's hooks into the OS).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:44AM (#14326039)
    I think I'll too have to call her [opera.com] about this rumour.
    • by Roblimo ( 357 )
      Berit wasn't the first Opera person I called, just the first one who answered. And I didn't check her picture first. I just wanted an official source inside Opera to tell me "on the record" whether or not the company had been sold.

      When she picked up the phone, I said, "This is Robin Miller in the U.S. -- Roblimo on Slashdot -- and I want to know how you like working for Microsoft."

      She said, "Huh? As far as I know I'm still working for Opera."

      After the laughter stopped, she gave me the "official word" you sa
    • http://my.opera.com/berit/albums/showpic.dml?albu m =2954&picture=21296 [opera.com]
      I guess it figures though.

      Berit, if you're reading these posts you should feel beautiful right now. Because you are.

      Berit's boyfriend, if you're reading these posts I'm sure you feel totally creeped out knowing that 10,000 nerdy guys from all around the world are drooling over your girlfriend.

      Haha! Lol!
      • FYI
        The caption for that image says - "Joe and Mal"
        So I guess the lady in the pic's probably not the one you are referring to :D

        But darn what stage has slashdot come to - trying to get people read posts mentioning the names of PR persons and indicating they're females.

        How could the editors even think us people would be interested in such things? :p
    • Of course the PR girl is a hottie. Even in a coding company, PR people aren't hired for their coding skills you know ;) But, considering that she works for Opera, and *still* uses an MS Hotmail email account, she doesn't even get the fight she's involved in. Personally, apart from thanks for somehow being involved in holding back a monopoly, I can't think of much I'd want to say to the girl.
  • So ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by alexhs ( 877055 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:44AM (#14326043) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot. Counternews for nerds, Stuff that might matter one day... or not.
  • Dumbest. Idea. Ever. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ip_freely_2000 ( 577249 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:54AM (#14326074)

    If MS needs a new browser, which they don't, it would be FAR more strategic to use Firefox, a la Netscape. Even though they would not own the browser, and they would be returning some features back to the public, they could use new Firefox features to drive sales of their server based products.

    There is no money in browsers (just ask Opera), but lots to be made in selling server software.
    • by jc42 ( 318812 )
      If MS needs a new browser, which they don't, ...

      Nobody is really saying that MS needs or wants a new browser.

      The scenario is that they buy out opera and shut it down, to eliminate a competitor.

      • It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Opera is by far the best of the PC browsers. Now that it's completely free and Opera Software are doing some decent marketing for once, it will inevitably take significant market share.

        Lucky that the EU are giving MS some anti-trust grief, eh?
    • by spif ( 4749 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:41AM (#14326330) Journal
      As far as MS is concerned, IE is not about web browsing. The web browser view of IE is just the sugar coating to get regular consumers to use it. IE's primary purpose is to be a client interface to applications written in ActiveX, VBscript, etc. That's why it is so popular in businesses, even those who use custom Windows desktop builds and/or software distribution and could easily put Firefox on every PC in their organization.

      If it was about which web browser is the best, Firefox would easily dominate the market, especially in corporations where security is important. But MS has locked people into IE by convincing them to use their proprietary platform for web applications. If Opera (or any other browser) could access all of those applications (by default - I know there are plugins and such for this) then they might be able to replace IE, since like I said the web browsing portion is secondary to MS. But they've put a lot of work into 'optimizing' IE to be a client for those apps, so I don't see them throwing that away. Besides which, any security advantage in using the rendering engine and UI from Opera would be wiped out by adding in ActiveX and VBscript support.

      Dvorak doesn't understand this aspect of IE, it seems, which is the only reason I can think of for his suggestion that Opera could replace IE. It's not about the web browsing, it's about the application platform. IE is an integral part of the MS proprietary web platform and that's not likely to change so easily.
    • "There is no money in browsers (just ask Opera)"

      No money in browsers?

      Ah, so that's how Opera has been around as a commercial browser for more than ten years!

      That's why Opera's revenue is higher than ever, and why the company is growing rapidly!

      That's why Opera has millions in cash in the bank!

      Because there is no money in browsers! Just ask the Slashdot experts!

      Seriously... How do people on Slashdot come up with these things?

      Opera Software has, as I mentioned, been around for more than ten ye

  • by rainer_d ( 115765 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @09:54AM (#14326079) Homepage
    Christ! What's next? No more dupes? No more early "FreeBSD x has been released"?
    An early New Years Resolution?
    I'm speechless.
  • How about fixing IE so it is safe to be used on any OS?

    Or is Opera somehow going to be better now that it is owned by Microsoft?
  • by lseltzer ( 311306 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:01AM (#14326107)
    Isn't it obvious that this is just a result of someone confusing Dvorak's "they should buy Opera" into "they have bought Opera"? And it really is inconceivable that they would buy Opera. NFW.
  • Good PR for Opera (Score:3, Interesting)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:02AM (#14326109)
    If nothing else, Opera is getting noticed in a lot more places these days. I wonder how the downloads are going?
  • Oh please... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nwbvt ( 768631 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:06AM (#14326127)
    "Which, of course, is not to say it won't happen ... it just hasn't happened yet."

    It very well could never happen. I have seen no evidence even suggesting that MS even wants Opera, other than a very speculative and not very well thought out article written by some troll. This is yellow journalism at its best, when someone comes out and refutes an entirely made up story, claim "it still could happen".

  • For linking to ANY article written by that idiot Dvorak. If Slashdot picks it up, his article gets steam and then other sites will make assumptions and false alerts based on shoddy reporting and opinions by the one and only, Dvorak.

    God this really boggles the mind...
  • by wasserja ( 808913 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:15AM (#14326170) Journal
    I just read from www.icantbelieveitsnottrue.com that Microsoft has inked a deal with Al Gore to purchase the rights to the Internet.
  • Bass (was: tenor) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by olovjohansson ( 814771 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:15AM (#14326171)
    {i blogged this and shamelessly copy-and-pasted it from http://fancy.se/ [fancy.se] with lost links and formatting, but anyways}

    There's a rumour that Microsoft has bought Opera software, makers of the (closed source) fast, cross-platform and lightweight Opera web browser, Opera mobile (Symbian S60, Windows mobile) and the recently released Opera mini (for Java phones).

    It's not hard to understand why Microsoft would be interested. Opera is very standards compliant, more so than IE6 (and IE7 perhaps). Opera is obviously very well engineered, with a very fast renderer and extremely low memory footprint. Most importantly, Opera runs on platforms that Microsoft wants to reach out to and (in the end) dominate or conquer.

    Such platforms are Symbian OS (in different series), a common OS for mobile phones. Opera rules that territory today.

    Such platforms are Maemo (you've heard about Nokia 770, haven't you?), the exciting new open platform that Nokia puts work into, based on the Linux-kernel, X11 and GTK+, to name some open source technologies. Opera rules that territory today.

    Such platforms are desktop Linux (Fedora Core, Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE, Mandriva, Slackware, RHEL, CentOS, the list goes on..) with KDE (QT) and/or Gnome (GTK+) integration. Linux users today mainly use Firefox or Konqueror, desktop Linux are getting more and more momentum and Microsoft understands that. Microsoft wants to reach that platform, for the same reasons that they want to reach Mac OS X (although most OS X users runs Safari or Firefox), and compared to porting IE to Linux from scratch (which could be a huge project depending on their codebase) lots of time could be saved by going with Opera (which has a Linux QT-version today). I expect Microsoft to port Windows Media Player to Linux soon too, for the same reasons that they have it for OS X, but that's a different story.

    Such platforms are Mac OS X, since the old Internet Explorer for Mac will receive no more updates after new-year and will cease to exist as a download a month after that. Apple releasing Safari (the Konqueror technology KHTML-based browser) for OS X was Microsofts worst nightmare, they lost their dominance (yes, most OS X users ran IE before that) in an increadibly short time. At first it looked liked they wouldn't do anything about it and keep a kind of wait-and-see attitude (halting all serious work on IE for Mac). They need to hold on to OS X, either Microsoft ports IE7 to Mac OS X (which they could as they've done it before, but i suspect it's a whole lot of work) or they try a short-cut - Opera.

    Such platforms are Windows mobile, their own platform for handhelds and phones. Many users seem to prefer Opera before IE for this platform, with Microsoft buying Opera their dominance would be total (neither Firefox nor a KHTML-based browser are available for this platform).

    And actually, such platforms are Windows XP and Vista. Microsoft wants to grab users from Opera and Firefox.

    If this rumour is true and Microsoft will buy Opera, I expect Microsoft to merge the "full" Opera web browser with Internet Explorer, and release it as IE8. This won't happen until summer 2007 at earliest, and likely even later (due to their track record). IE7 will release as planned (first half 2006 or something) and not contain a single line of Opera-code (it's in beta already). I expect IE8 to be more like IE7 with some Opera-technology merged in rather than the opposite. This could be a huge project and Microsoft could choose to skip most of it. They will look into Opera's renderer though, and they will look into the cross-platform nature of Opera.

    The bottom line is, buying Opera is a cheap (relatively speaking, you've seen all the TV-commercials for Xbox 360 haven't you?) ticket into other competitors territory for Microsoft. Grabbing existing Symbian userbase would probably be worth it alone.

    They might also just as well buy it and discontinue the whole thing, trying to help sales for Windows Mobile as a
    • Good point about Opera on Symbian. Maybe Microsoft does not want the Opera browser as much as they do not want it on Symbian phones? Microsoft has already used this strategy for VirtualPC for the Mac.
  • ...if they did, who would they copy ideas from?

    (Opera was the first major browser to have tabs, mouse gestures, etc.)
    • "...if they did, who would they copy ideas from?

      (Opera was the first major browser to have tabs, mouse gestures, etc.)"

      Maybe copy the idea of "Innovating" stuff that already exists.

      Tabbed browsing first came out in 1994 in InternetWorks by BookLink Technologies.
      Mouse gestures were added to opera in 2001, they were in Back&white earlier that year, and Myth much sooner.

      Operas not a horrible browser, but they wernt the first.
  • by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:18AM (#14326202) Journal
    If I ate a mince pie for every end-of-year IT rumour on the net I'd have exploded by now.

    The rather feverish interest in this stuff marks a real change. A year ago, it could have been announced that Microsoft had bought a B-52 and ten atomic bombs and everyone would have turned over and gone back to sleep. Now, the merest whiff of action on the Microsoft-Google-Yahoo front has the pundits running.

    But I can't help wondering whether a little game of chicken is going on, with folks being bounced into buying something for fear the next guy will get it. Ebay and Skype, Google and AOL - these and others are not really matches made in heaven. It will be interesting to see how the dice have fallen on this craze in, say, a year's time. But I hope MS don't buy Opera, for a simple, selfish reason. I like using Opera, and I like it just the way it is.
  • I don't seriously see MS looking the fool and admitting they can't write a decent browser by buying Opera. Google OTOH may have a use for their own browser expecially if thay are pushing for the whole "two tier internet [google.com]" deal. I recall a story a while back where they were buying up the "dark fiber [com.com]". Together maybe being able to have a browser that is standards compliant and able to handle custom protocols makes sense.
  • Most of the earlier 'weblogs' ( from the days before they were called 'weblogs' ), would always attribute where they heard the information. These days, everyone wants to be a newspaper, and pretend they're getting the scoop on things, and don't bother to list their source of information.

    I'd love to see more websites/newspapers/TV news/etc actually provide information on where they're getting the information, so that when things seem odd, it can be traced back to figure out who the dumbass was.

    These days, t
  • by Afty0r ( 263037 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:25AM (#14326240) Homepage
    ""If I was working for Microsoft I think I'd know it, but I'm still in Oslo, not Washington, still working for Opera.""

    Which actually has a meaning of.... NOTHING.

    It is not a confirmation, nor a denial - she has skipped around the question by making a joke. The reporter should ask her outright again to answer the question, or not quote at all.

    The quote means nothing - she could be telling the truth, *and* know that Microsoft has taken over Opera *and* the quote would still be correct. (If MS took a majority stake in Opera, Operas employees wouldn't work for MS, they would work for Opera... *and* you can bet most jobs wouldn't be moving to Washington anyway).
  • by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @10:27AM (#14326263)
    I think it's because of this Digg "article": Microsoft Buys Out Opera [digg.com] that many people think it's true
  • Microsoft buying Opera would be terrible, we need more competition in the browser market, not less!

    Also, I can just imagine them releasing Vista, and once everyone figures out that the blue-e has become a red-O, they then discover that half their favourite websites don't work any more (and in many cases, tell them to get lost because they're not running IE). Even if Microsoft gets ActiveX working with Opera, and lets assume that doing so is less time consuming than fixing the major problems with IE, there a
  • by Odin's Raven ( 145278 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @11:28AM (#14326572)
    Deranged drivel from pointless pundit once again shown to have no basis in reality.

    Next /. story: Dvorak unable to find posterior with both hands, proclaims demise of buttocks as we know them.

    Next /. retraction: Arse in previous Dvorak stories positively identified, proven to exist. (Which, of course, is not to say that the disappearance of arses won't happen ... just that it hasn't happened yet.)

  • This is a huge deal! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cally ( 10873 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @11:45AM (#14326668) Homepage
    This is an incredibly big deal, not because of anything in the story itself, but because of those magic words "followed up by phone". Someone submitted what looked to the Slashdot editors like a really interesting story, but the credibility of which seemed a little flaky. They then *checked the story with a primary source* themselves. (OK, roblimo's working for OSDN rather than Slashdot, IIRC.) But this means that from now on when Slashdot runs a story that turns out to have been trivially falsifiable by a phone call or couple of emails, they can't use the excuse of "we just report what people submit". Fact chgecking... the thin end of a slippery wedge, if you ask me ;)
  • by BeatdownGeek ( 687929 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @11:51AM (#14326709) Homepage
    Come on. They've put how much time and money into developing IE7? No way they would do all that then scrap it for Opera. Not to say that Opera isn't better (I don't know). But it would be an incredible waste. If they were going to do such a thing, they would have bought Opera before they started developing IE7.

  • that Slashdot's one millionth username will be I don't get it.
  • by rnd() ( 118781 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @01:57PM (#14327429) Homepage
    Microsoft and Google both have their own PR departments, and any purchase of Opera would be targeted at 1) the code, and 2) some of the developers. The rest of the employees would probably not know anything about it. At best, the owners of the company, a major shareholder or two, and possibly a few key people who need to be given an incentive to stick around after the acquisition will be informed. The rest may be kept on board as a gesture of good will or may be let go unceremoniously a few weeks later.
  • by SleepyHappyDoc ( 813919 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @03:10PM (#14327855)
    I don't know if they had any to begin with (they certainly aren't what I would consider a primary source of information), but they certainly have none now. The article, which was very simply proved false by roblimo's phone call, should have been checked before THEY posted it. They have a tiny update at the bottom now that basically says 'This is all bullshit. Thanks for playing.' which does not excuse their posting of it as a fait accompli in the first place. Yet another bullshit rumour website to cross off my list of sites worth looking at.
  • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Friday December 23, 2005 @03:11PM (#14327858) Homepage
    Amazing. Slashdot actually has a phone? And they were able to dial it and talk to a person to verify an "article" here? Wow. Hell must be really cold right now.

  • Hmmm. You'd think they would be here. But they're not. Silence!

    I bet the rumor is true.
  • "If I was working for Microsoft I think I'd know it, but I'm still in Oslo, not Washington, still working for Opera." Which, of course, is not to say it won't happen ... it just hasn't happened yet.

    The author of this slashdot article should not have added that line at the end. The way it follows on makes it seem as if it is the Opera guy saying it. And the author has no reason to believe that Opera ever will be sold. The way it's phrased makes it sound almost inevitable.

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