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Chinese takeover of Opera fails to get government approval

The Norwegian browser vendor Opera was deemed to be acquired by a consortion of Chinese internet companies. In the latest news the company had not received regulatory approval from either Chinese or United States officials.

The $1.2 billion takeover deal for the Norwegian software company building a browser as well as operating ad services has fallen through for now as the deadline for the approval was not met.

An alternative deal is now on the table with the Chonese companies Qihoo 360 and Beijing Kunlun tech looking to acquire parts of the company for some $600 million, according to a statement by the company.

The new plan includes acquisition of just the Opera browser technologies as well as privacy and performance related technology functions. The marketing and advertising business of the Norwegian company would remain on the old company. This deal is now expected to be closed in the later parts of the third quarter of 2016.

A brief history of the fastest browser on Earth

Opera is a Norwegian company known for innovation in the browser markets. Starting out as an offshoot from a telecoms company by Geir Ivarsøy and Jon von Tetzchner. In the 1990's the company innovated many features such as tabs and mouse gestures. Opera Mini, a proxy based mobile browser was also a key innovation in the first stages of the mobile web.

The company's rendering engine was developed for years and had excellent standards support. The company had many web influencers onboard, including the inventor of CSS, Håkon Wium Lie. Finally in 2012 the company deemed that it could no longer support developing it's own rendering engine and abandoned it in the favour of the Open Source Blink rendering engine.

Originally the browser was ad supported where users could purchase a license to rid the browser of ads. The browser went completely free in 2006, with income coming through search deal with Google paying for each search done using Opera browsers.

In addition to desktop and mobile browsers, the company also has a history of embedded browsers. Ranging from TVs to custom devices, the Opera browser is present in surprising locations such as the Nintendo Wii. It was also the browser in the Nokia 770 tablet device released in 2005.

Opera browsers continue to have over 50 Million users worldwide, with exceptional popularity in countries such as Brazil, India and Russia. At later stages the company started focusing more on advertising solutions. Original lead programmer Geir Ivarsøy sadly passed away in 2006, but Jon von Tetzchner left the company in 2011 to set up a new independent browser vendor Vivaldi.

Written by Jorgé on Monday July 18, 2016

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