So what does Opera Software plan to do now that it has acquired mobile ad firm AdMarvel? For one thing, it wants to be a friend to the operators.
Speaking from Oslo, Norway, yesterday after the company signed the deal hours earlier in the day, Opera Chief Strategy Officer Rolf Assev said plans call for AdMarvel to operate independently from Opera, although Opera will be a major customer.
Opera claims it is the most used mobile browser in the world – more than the iPhone’s Safari or any other browser. “We have a lot of usage,” Assev said, with about 50 million users. Given that scenario, the company decided it was time to look at how to monetize that position, and one way is through mobile advertising. During the last seven to eight months, the company has been trying out different ways of serving ads using different ad networks.
What executives learned was that getting the right ads at the right time and price was key, and it can do that together on a more technical level by actually acquiring rather than simply partnering with San Mateo, Calif.-based AdMarvel.
AdMarvel’s system will choose the ad from an ad network that best fits its customer and measures on the fly how effective the ad is doing. If it’s not getting results, the system finds another ad.
Opera’s browser is on phones from various manufacturers, including Motorola, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. In October, AT&T announced four new mobile phones, two each from Pantech and Samsung, that feature the att.net mobile platform that uses advanced data compression from Opera for faster delivery of HTML Web pages.
“What we are focused on doing is to be the operator’s best friend” and for the operators to be independent from some of the other major players that are trying to sit on all sides of the table, Assev said, declining to name names. “I see there are some concerns out there about where the power lies in the mobile business.”
Opera came up with its browser after seeing the poor experience from WAP, but early on, bandwidth for phones didn’t support good browsing. Now, operators are opening up the walls and more people are experiencing mobile browsing.
While the smartphone market is an important one for the company, it wants to be the No. 1 player on the 80 percent or so of the market for lower end phones. Low-end phones are important in emerging markets, where the mobile phone is the only way some people are accessing the Internet, Assev notes.