Opera Software has announced that it will move away from its own Presto rendering engine in favor of WebKit, the software engine that powers the Chrome and Safari browsers. "It makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further," says CTO Håkon Wium Lie. The company says there will be a "gradual transition" this year to WebKit and Chromium across desktop and mobile.

Opera has 300 million monthly users

Details of a WebKit-powered mobile browser from Opera first leaked last month. Dubbed "Ice" at the time, CEO Lars Boilesen was quoted as saying that it was designed to take on Safari and Chrome in the mobile space. A separate WebKit-powered Android browser will be formally revealed at this month's Mobile World Congress.

But the revelation that Opera is planning to adopt WebKit on the desktop, too, marks the end of an era for the Norwegian company, which introduced Presto a decade ago with Opera 7. The announcement was made as the company celebrated reaching the milestone of 300 million monthly users across all its platforms.