Opera releases first quarter figures

Norwegian browser maker Opera disclosed its result for the first quarter today. Opera claimed revenues were generally in line with expectations. OEM revenue from device and mobile clients was slightly better, whereas desktop revenue was a bit lower than expected.

The company posted total sales of 151.4 million Norwegian kroner, or approximately 19 million euro. Back last year, Opera had sales worth 163 million kroner (20.4 million euro). Sales were impacted by currency changes, claimed Opera. Had currencies stayed stable, sales would have increased by three percent year over year.

A net loss of 15.6 million kroner (1.9 million euro) was incurred. Opera states the loss was due to one-time charges of 29.1 million kroner (3.6 million euro) for legal costs and for firing employees, or restructuring, if one wishes to use the EUphemism. Without the pink-slipping costs Opera would have posted a net profit of 5.3 million kroner (664,000 euro), compared to a profit of 16.7 million (2.1 million euro) in the same period of last year. The headcount was reduced from 764 to 707 employees.

Revenue from internet devices fell by 14 percent year over year, from 116 million kroner to 99.4 million kroner (12.5 million euro). Orders from mobile operators employing Opera Mini on handsets was weak in the quarter, due to lower handset shipments and development revenue. Around 55 million unique users browsed internet content from their mobile devices using Opera Mini. In total, 59 million subscribers use Opera Mini on their handsets, an additional 3.5 million use an operator-branded version.

Handset makers such as Samsung or OEMs like Mediatek use Opera Mini on their phones to distribute mobile content and to allow subscribers to surf the net. Major operators use Mini as a network-branded, preinstalled browser. Vodafone, for instance, is employing it in its Vodafone 360 push. Opera is also used as a browser on televisions and set-top boxes.

Desktop revenue, coming from the regular Opera browser, grew by 11 percent from 46.9 million kroner to 52 million kroner (6.5 million euro). Opera’s main source of desktop revenue comes from search behemoth Google, which is the global search partner, apart from a few regional markets. In China, for instance, Baidu is the main search partner, or Yahoo! Japan in – guess where? – Japan. Opera currently is the browser of choice for 52 million users.

Opera said it aims to add volume to its operator business this year, and land deals with additional operators and device makers. It also wants to find a way to monetise the fact that 55 million mobile subscribers use Opera Mini to browse the web. The company also hopes more and more people will start using Opera as their default browser – Opera has already profited from the EU browser-choice splash-screen Microsoft had to install.

Opera will mainly have to aim at growing its already large market share in the mobile arena, and finding a way to make money off of it. Google is set to enter the TV arena and competition in the desktop market is fierce.