Sources have reportedly told UK gadget news outlet Pocket Lint that Facebook is considering launching their own web browser, and that the company is looking to acquire the developers of an established program as part of the process.
As first reported by Pocket Lint’s Stuart Miles, a “trusted source” had revealed that the Mark Zuckerberg-founded social network is considering purchasing Opera Software, the company behind the Opera web browser. They are reportedly considering launching their own, Facebook-branded browser that would “allow you keep up to date with your social life from in-built plug-ins and features on the menu bar.”
“According to our man in the know, the company could be about to expand into the browser space to take on the likes of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla and now even Yahoo, who has recently launched its own browser,” Miles said. “The move — which would no doubt send shivers of panic through Google — although unlikely to affect Chrome’s continued growth in the short term, would see the two tech giants battle it out on your desktop and mobile for web surfing as well as social networking.”
Robin Wauters, European Editor of The Next Web, contacted Opera Software and Facebook to discuss the rumors, but both companies declined to comment.
However, Wauters added that sources close to Opera did confirm that the company’s management is currently speaking with potential buyers, and that there was a hiring freeze at the software firm at this time, which Wauters called “a surefire sign that something big is about to happen — or at least that Opera wants something big to happen.” That source could not confirm whether or not Facebook was a potential suitor for the company.
“The move would save Facebook the hassle of building its own browser from scratch,” Jane McEntegart of Tom’s Guide wrote on Saturday. “While Opera is a distant last in the desktop browser market (as of last month, it had just 1.76 percent of the market), it’s currently the top mobile browser with a market share of 21.52 percent and has a presence on smartphones, tablets, and even game consoles, which could be more Facebook’s style.”
Another interesting twist to the story, according to Digital Trends‘ Molly McHugh, is that the Opera acquisition talk could potentially be linked to rumors of a Facebook phone. McHugh said that it “seems entirely plausible that Facebook will team up with a manufacturer and create its own Facebook OS (built on top of Android, perhaps). And if that were the case, then Facebook would want its own custom, proprietary browser app to go along with it.”