Opera Mini to take over browser duties on Microsoft Nokia smartphones

Norwegian software producer (and Google Chrome pretender) Opera has inked a deal with Microsoft that will see it take over the browser building department of the Nokia range of smartphones.

"We have signed a strategic licensing deal with Microsoft. We are basically taking over the browser building department in Nokia," Opera Chief Executive Lars Boilsesen said. "This means that Opera Mini will become the default browser for Microsoft's feature phone product lines and the Asha phones product lines."

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Opera, which started out as a research project in Norway's largest telecom company, Telenor, in 1994, has also reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations, leading to a significant rise in its share price.

Shares in the company stood at 80.45 crowns at 9:04am GMT on Thursday 21 June – a rise of 6.5 per cent.

"All the current user base will be encouraged to upgrade to Opera Mini and all the new phones will come with Opera Mini pre-installed as a default browser. This is a great deal for us. We have dreamed of this for more than 10 years."

In another statement, Opera said the licensing agreement extends to mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40 and Asha software platforms.

"As part of the agreement, people who use the current browser for these phones, Xpress, will be encouraged to upgrade to the latest Opera Mini browser. Factory-new devices will have Opera Mini pre-installed."

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This will no doubt please Windows Phone users, existing and new, since the current default Internet Explorer rather lags behind arch-rival Google Chrome.