Opera may be a minor blip in the desktop browser market, at least at a global scale, but the company behind the browsers is not doing so bad. It's making money off of its mobile browsers or the ones embedded in TVs or other devices and business is growing in that department.
In its Q2 financial results, Opera Software reported revenues of $52.1 million, EUR42 million up 32 percent from the same period in 2011, 37 percent adjusted for currency fluctuations.
Some of that growth comes from the mobile space, where Opera continues to flourish. Revenue from its mobile users was up 168 percent, $3.4 million, EUR3.74 million but is still only a minor fraction of the total.
On the other hand, revenue from operators, i.e. carriers, was down 24 percent and revenue from mobile OEMs was down 40 percent. It's clear that the Opera Mini business, that of bundling the browser with phones either by the manufacturer or the carrier selling the phone, isn't going so well.
You'll have the rise of smartphones to thank for that, but there's still a huge and growing market for feature phones. Mobile Opera browsers are used by 200 million people at this point, the company reports. That's a huge 47 percent boost in just six months, from the end of 2011.
No surprise then that mobile ad revenue is up 450 percent and is now the second biggest chunk in the total revenue $13.5 million, behind only revenue from the desktop browser.
That revenue was up 22 percent, to $15.7 million, EUR12.7 million from the same period last year from the 55 million people that use the Opera browser. That number hasn't changed from the end of 2011.
Still, the company makes it clear that the future is mobile and, more specifically, mobile advertising. If it can continue to grow this revenue stream at the current pace, Opera should be making a lot more money than it currently is from mobile alone.
But there is plenty of uncertainty here, Opera can only have a full blown browser on Android, neither iOS nor Windows Phone allow different browsers, not just "skins" for the existing engine. Mozilla's upcoming Firefox OS won't be supporting browsers either, but at least that's a technical limitation, since the entire "OS" is just the Firefox browsing engine on top of the Linux kernel.