Can imagine that quite a few of those fired would have been tough to motivate, though. Nobody likes seeing their lifework put out and shot.
Now it is obvious. Cost saving! Which is fine, just a bit disappointing. Especially considering how they have 3 products. Opera, Opera Mini and the new Tablet Browser (I don't know if this is replacing Mini)
This makes perfect business sense for Opera - why work hard to make a browser, when it can get one for free. As a plus, that browser uses WebKit, so its main competitors - mobile Safari and the mobile version of Chrome - will never be ahead of it on core engine features. Furthermore, one of those competitors, Chrome, will never be ahead of it in any way since they will be practically the same browser.
For that reason I doubt anyone believed Opera would be putting much engineering effort into core WebKit or even core Chromium. It makes no business sense - Google is already doing all the hard work on Chromium (and WebKit, with others), and anything Opera adds to WebKit shows up in its main competitors immediately.
What Opera does need engineers for is to replace the Google-specific stuff in Chrome, like login to Google services and other Google web services. Also Opera will modify the UI. Opera can also add some stuff on top of that to differentiate. But Opera simply no longer needs a significant browser engine department - Google is now that department.
Opera is building a new browser using Chromium. They can still add value on top of that - Opera has more things than just a browser, they have their server-side rendering, ad network and analytics, etc. They can integrate those with a version of Chrome that has Opera branding and there could be value in that.
Note also that to include Chrome on your phone means a deal with Google. Typically that means using all Google services (docs, mail, app store). If you want to use something else, you can't use Chrome, so that might be an opportunity for Opera.
Other features I use daily or at least weekly are: quick preferences (F12), per-site preferences, content-blocker, stylesheet switcher, paste-and-go (Chrome has this now, but not as a keyboard shortcut), go-to-parent-directory and way too many keyboard shortcuts to name here.
I'm sure I could get these features with a few choice extensions in Chrome, but I'd have to figure out which are the good ones first, and hope they play nice with eachother.
Either way, this is dark news nonetheless. I was somewhat positive about the switch to webkit/chromium but laying off this many people is bad for morale, bad for the product and of course most bad for the people that just lost their job.
Increased profit for the owners of Opera, who are the only corporate masters I know of who make their profits off of a web browser.
Users might prefer the Opera skins, but, frankly, users aren't central to this story. Profits are.
All the articles I've read recently, including this article, all only mention WebKit. Where have you heard that they are switching to Chromium and not just WebKit? I'd be interested to read more about that.
By switching to WebKit/Chromium, Opera will not only become faster and more functional, but it will also allow its Norwegian developers to focus on the browser’s overall user experience.
Notice that they seem to equate WebKit with Chromium, which isn't the case.
In my opinion (no based in knowledge of any kind) is that they are just ripping out Presto and replacing it with WebKit. I suspect that the next version of Opera will visually look similar to Opera now and will support most if not all the same functions (customizable menus, ad blocking, Mail client, etc).
As you probably know "some stuff on top of that" is rather broad in Opera's case, assuming they keep current functionality. If they have business sense they'll also want to keep their 300 million users, I doubt they'll do that by killing their product and making an Opera branded Chromium instead.
It states that for the user, it's going to be the same browser. It also states Opera extensions will keep working, so at the very least we know they'll be making something not as chrome as the other chromium browsers.
It won't be exactly like Chrome, I never said it would - it will add stuff to it and remove some stuff. And I do think that can be a viable product that keeps many of their users.
I agree Opera might be more different than Chrome than SRWare for example. But it will still be 99% chromium in the core engine. To make significant changes in there would mean forking chromium and not being able to easily update from upstream - which would be silly.
Your comment doesn't make sense. It's wild speculation based on an article with false statements.
They are using Chromium as their browser. Chromium is a full browser, so basically almost all the work on Opera's new browser will be done by Google. That is why I said "outsourcing development to Google", but of course I didn't mean it literally as in "paying Google to develop for them".
That's not speculation, that's just what it means when Opera is switching to Chromium.
Opera will add stuff on top. But Opera can't differentiate much in the core browser stuff, otherwise it would be forking Chromium and it would become harder and harder over time to get updates from upstream. That makes no sense technically or business-wise. What does make sense is to add things on top that are modular and separate, for example remove Google's login and replace it with Opera's, etc.
Using the Chromium framework doesn't mean that you are using the actual final Chromium UI. The CEO himself said they're building a new UI.
Differentiation doesn't take place in the browser engine. It take splace in the UI. Most people have no idea which engine they are using, and they don't care.
I disagree though about your saying differentiation not taking place in the engine. It takes place everywhere, including the engine.
> almost all the work on Opera's new browser will be done by Google. That is why I said "outsourcing development to Google"
According to that logic, using any open-source component is outsourcing development. Doesn't make sense.
This isn't the case when you use a small open source codebase. But it is the case here when Opera is using an enormous codebase by a huge corporation, and just innovating in the UI and other modular features on top of the huge core.
False. Opera has said they will contribute to both WebKit and Chromium.
> But it is the case here when Opera is using an enormous codebase by a huge corporation
WebKit is not Google's codebase.
I hope they can keep their engine alive elsewhere... not likely though.
One could argue that Opera now are in more need of 25 years old iOS developers, that 40+ C++ specialists.
> One could argue that Opera now are in
> more need of 25 years old iOS developers,
> that 40+ C++ specialists.
To do what, make more Angry Birds clones?
Engineers that spent 15 years working on every possible mobile device aren't suddenly magically unable to start working on a new one.
But apparently, it really will be a Chrome knockoff now.