February 10, 2010 / 9:10 AM / 8 years ago

Opera says to introduce faster browser for iPhone

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Norwegian browser company Opera Software said it would reveal a version of its Mini browser for Apple Inc’s iPhone next week, offering faster download speeds.

<p>An Apple iPhone is shown with the Beejive IM (instant messaging) software during "CES Unveiled," a media preview event, at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 5, 2010. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>

Opera said the browser would offer consumers up to six times faster download speeds than Apple’s own, and cut data traffic by up to 90 percent. Massive data traffic from iPhone mobile phones has caused problems for many operators’ networks.

Analysts said Apple could try to stop rivals from access to the iPhone so as to maintain control of its Internet browsing function, which has been a key behind the success of the smartphone.

“This is a provocative move by Opera which will result in a tricky and high profile PR exercise for Apple should it decide not to allow Opera mini through the App Store,” CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said.

Opera said it saw no reason why its browser, the world’s most widely used on cellphones, should be rejected. “We have not submitted it yet to the Apple App Store. However, we hope that Apple will not deny their users a choice in Web browsing experience,” said Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera.

In Europe Opera was the key driver behind the European Union’s push to have Microsoft Corp open Windows to other browsers.

Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, said there was little chance Apple would allow Opera browser to be installed on the iPhone.

“Apple doesn’t want Opera on the iPhone. The company isn’t open and already offers its own browser,” Kay said.

Rob Enderle, analyst at Enderle Group, said FCC’s continuing review of Apple’s anti-competitive practices -- after Google said it tried to stop access of Google Voice application -- was likely to help Opera.

“They won’t like it but will likely allow the application through after a review period,” he said.

Opera shares rose on the news and closed 0.5 percent higher at 19.80 crowns on Oslo bourse. DJ Stoxx European technology shares index fell 0.5 percent.

An Apple spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Editing by Dan Lalor and Richard Chang

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