Friday, February 15, 2013
Opera Buys Skyfire, Readies Optimized Video Delivery Solutions
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Opera Software on Friday said it has acquired Silicon Valley based
Skyfire Labs, a leader in mobile video optimization and cloud
solutions for mobility.
Skyfire is known for its Rocket Optimizer software. This allows
mobile operators to leverage cloud computing to optimize video and
other multimedia on crowded cell towers, including 3G and 4G LTE
networks. The Rocket Optimizer is claimed to provide mobile
networks a 60 percent boost in capacity by reducing the size of
video and other multimedia content as needed to fit the available
bandwidth. Skyfire can detect when specific users are facing poor
quality of experience or connections that need assistance, and
intervene in milliseconds. This can minimize the long start times,
rebuffering, and stalls on video and audio streams that frustrate
mobile users. The approach aligns with the trend toward SDN
(software-defined networking) and NFV (network function
virtualization) among telecommunications operators, thanks to its
elastic and virtualization-friendly cloud architecture.
Skyfire also offers Skyfire Horizon, a mobile browser extension and
toolbar platform that allows users to personalize their smartphone
browser and operators to gain new monetization opportunities.
Skyfire has honed its technology through a variety of consumer
applications, which have more than 20 million worldwide downloads
Skyfire currently counts three large U.S. mobile operators as
customers for its Rocket Optimizer and Skyfire Horizon solutions,
and is in trials with ten other operators around the world.
"Opera and Skyfire are a natural fit," said Lars Boilesen, CEO,
Opera Software. "Both companies have evolved far beyond their
browser roots. Skyfire adds capabilities to our portfolio around
video, app optimization, smartphones and tablets, and strength in
North America. With video expected to consume over two-thirds of
global mobile bandwidth by 2015, and as time spent on Android and
iOS apps explodes, we are excited to extend Opera?s solutions for
"Opera's over 100 carrier relationships, global sales team, and
delivery organization can accelerate the global commercialization
of Skyfire's technology," said Jeffrey Glueck, CEO of Skyfire.
"Opera's Mediaworks advertising unit with AdMarvel, Mobile Theory
and 4th Screen Advertising will strengthen Skyfire Horizon by
offering mobile operators a complete turnkey solution including ad
optimization, ad sales, and rich analytics. The synergies across
all the product lines for both companies are tremendous."
After the deal closes, Glueck will assume the role of EVP of the
Operator Business for Opera, as well as CEO of Skyfire, and will
oversee the joint offerings for Opera across Opera Mini co-brand
solutions for Operators and Skyfire's product lines. Skyfire will
remain an independent entity as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera,
and will continue to develop and support the Skyfire browser.
The two companies envision a new set of joint products to be
released over the coming year. In particular, they look to expand
on Opera's Web Pass offering, which allows consumers to purchase
data plans such as an unlimited 'day pass' of popular apps and web
sites for an affordable price, thanks to video and data
optimization. WebPass can enable new business models for operators,
such as toll free data, ad-supported data, and more.
The acquisition price includes a mix of cash and stock, with an
upfront consideration of US$50 million (including US$8 million of
cash on the Skyfire balance sheet) and performance based earn-out
payments over three years, including US$26 million in cash held in
escrow and funded upfront, that can bring the total deal size to
The Opera acquisition of Skyfire is expected to close before March