May 29 - Facebook is under pressure to make money from mobile devices and that may have it tuning into Norway's Opera Software as the newly public company puts together a revenue building strategy. Bobbi Rebell reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL Facebook is playing defense- and that could be a good thing. Case in point: Word is that Facebook is scoping out buying Opera Software- which makes web browsers that work on various platforms- including mobile. Opera has a technology that can better display mobile ads- just what Facebook needs these days to convert its increasing traffic from mobile platforms to revenue. It also could create a path to get around Apple and Google- and to the consumer directly. Morningstar's Rick Summer: SOUNDBITE: RICK SUMMER, SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There is a new operating system in mobile, there's Apple and there's Android. They risk being shut out of that environment so as a defensive nature to actually have Opera as long as consumers are using it and that's the big if. If they can get consumers to use Opera than they are not shut out of Facebook services and quite frankly it may be easier for us to continue to use Facebook in a mobile environment." To get a deal done- Facebook would have to pay a hefty premium- much like it did with its billion dollar Instagram deal. It also has to get past Google- which already has extensive relationships with Opera. And Opera itself which, even as its stock soars on takeover rumors, says it wants to grow organically. But Facebook is a company that likes to shop. Summer says Facebook will be targeting video chat as well as expanding into online payments beyond their Zynga deal: SOUNDBITE: RICK SUMMER, SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If they are going to compete with PayPal, if they are going to compete with Square, things around those lines, they have to build much more robust things: fraud prevention, fraud detection payments processing technologies. We could certainly see some acquisitions around those sides." Facebook has been mum on the rumors- but with its stock price falling- its buying power is in flux- as is its good will with shareholders. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.