Facebook has reportedly dropped their support for Google’s Chrome web browser, instead replacing it with Opera on their recommended browser list. The move could signal that a rumored acquisition of the browser maker is nearly complete.
When a user visits the social network using a browser that isn’t official supported, Facebook redirects them to a page that lists browsers they say will give users the best experience. Until recently, that list included Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Chrome. Observant viewers have since noticed that Chrome has been replaced by Opera in this list, although independent testing on my end with Chrome didn’t trigger the same browser warning that others are experiencing.
As briefly alluded to in our weekend news roundup several days ago, all rumors are suggesting that Facebook is preparing to buy Opera. Company stock is still reeling after a poor IPO showing and with roughly $16 billion now at their disposal, making a big acquisition sooner rather than later could be just what the company needs to restore investor faith. Acquiring Opera would mean that the social network wouldn’t have to build a browser from the ground up, yet another boon.
The Norwegian-based Opera was initially released in 1994 although a mobile version of the browser has been available for only a few years. The company claims to have over 200 million users worldwide, or roughly 20 percent of the user base that Facebook has.
Analysts are predicting that the acquisition could cost Facebook over $1billion. Lest we forget that Facebook spent $1 billion to acquire Instagram not too long ago in a deal that hasn’t even been finalized yet.