Opera is announcing that it’s buying Skyfire Labs, best known for the Flash-compatible Skyfire web browser for iOS and Android, for $155 million. The acquisition is primarily for the company’s Rocket Optimizer — software that reduces the size of streaming video and other media when it’s being transmitted over congested mobile networks. Opera says that Skyfire can detect when users are having a bad experience and adjust the quality "in milliseconds," which it believes will be increasingly important as the quantity of video on the web continues to grow. Skyfire currently licenses Rocket Optimizer and Skyfire Horizon — a browser extension and toolbar platform — to three "large" US mobile providers, and is in talks with others outside the country.
The idea is to enable new business models like ad-supported and toll-free data
By collaborating, the two companies hope to build on Opera’s Web Pass — a kind of unlimited day pass for apps and websites. The idea is to enable new business models like ad-supported and toll-free data, something AT&T has said it plans to release sometime later this year.
After the deal is complete, CEO Jeffrey Glueck will handle double duty as VP of Operator Business for Opera while remaining head of Skyfire, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company.