Opera Software and Google have renewed their partnership agreement for another two years as Google will remain the default search provider for Opera browsers and provide.
Up until 2005, Opera was serving banner ads or subscriptions to their browser to help offset operations costs. Then, the company formed their partnership with Google, letting AdWords results in search monetize their browser. When the deal first went down, Opera expected to triple their userbase, and had enjoyed a 2-3% share of the browser market at the time.
Following the partnership were rumors of a Google acquisition of Opera, given its hold of the mobile browser market and innovative features (Opera came bundled with an RSS reader long before IE and its other competitors.)
The rumor turned out to be just that, a rumor, and Opera realeased a statement saying that Google would not be acquiring the company. In fact, according to Opera, Google was never in acquisition talks with the company, and the gBrowser (powered by Opera) would never come about.
One the day after Google, Sun and Everex launch the gPC, a PC powered by Google Applications, Sun’s OpenOffice and other open source technologies, one has to wonder if Google should have taken action in acquiring Opera, which seems to be a profitable company, 2 years ago and releasing an official Google browser.
Sure, Mozilla is more or less the unofficial Google browser; distributed by Google, offering Google search as a default, and earning around $60 million a year from Google. And Google seems to enjoy partnering with such desktop browser companies instead of acquiring them, but if Google had put the effort into creating an Opera powered Google browser and distributing it as much as they have with Mozilla, Google could be keeping somewhere around that $60 million a year in house – and I bet they would have made their money back on Opera in a year.