I'm very excited to announce that the Skyfire team will become part of Opera Software. A few moments ago we signed a merger agreement for Opera to acquire Skyfire, and expect the deal to close before March 15. Skyfire will remain Skyfire, as a brand, as an independent subsidiary, and as a vision, with the same great team, same disruptive products and the same market leading cloud solutions for mobility.
This is a major milestone for our Skyfire family and validation of our vision for cloud computing and network function virtualization (NFV) to solve huge problems on mobile networks, from handling the explosion of video over cell towers, to finding ways for mobile operators to regain relevance and monetize in an over-the-top world. Back in 2007, when Nitin Bhandari and Erik Swenson started Skyfire, the idea that Tier One mobile network operators would entrust the cloud for core network roles was considered bleeding edge. Now it’s a topic everyone is talking about, and Skyfire is making NFV combined with Software Defined Networking a reality.
Opera and Skyfire are a natural fit. Both companies have extensive focus on operator products well beyond our well-known consumer web browsers, with complementary geographic strengths (Skyfire in North America, Opera globally and especially across the entire developing world). Skyfire brings cutting-edge products like Rocket Optimizer and Skyfire Horizon that are proven in commercial deployment, and signed customers including 3 of the largest U.S. wireless operators. Our technology in video, app optimization, and mobile browser personalization for smartphones and tablets extend Opera’s portfolio into high-growth areas.
Together, we’re stronger. Opera has an incredible global distribution network, beloved global brand, and customer relationships with Mobile Operators and consumers around the world. Furthermore, Opera Mediaworks will give us access to a world class mobile monetization and ad network sister company. Together we can accelerate the commercialization of Skyfire technology, and build new joint products that will be cloud-based and disruptive.
When I came aboard as CEO in 2009, it was my focus to help extend the vision of our founders, and work closely with them to build a team that was passionate, inventive and devoted to solving access and connection problems for the world's wireless users. I’m proud of our team… with only 53 employees here in Silicon Valley we’ve built products that routinely outperform legacy competitors by two-fold to ten-fold in scalability and performance. It’s the team’s hard work and ingenuity that brought us to today.
After closing, I will assume the role of EVP of the Operator Business Unit for Opera. I'll also remain the CEO of Skyfire, and will oversee the joint offerings for Opera across Opera Mini co-branded solutions for operators and Skyfire’s product lines.
As for our consumer products, Skyfire’s web browser products for iOS and Android and Opera's globally-beloved mobile browsers including Opera Mini start out with different audiences—smartphone video junkies for Skyfire, speed and data savings lovers for Opera Mini (all the way down to feature phones and 2G connections). Skyfire consumers who have bought apps from Skyfire will be able to continue enjoying those apps, and the 2013 roadmap for Skyfire direct-to-consumer products continues to include many innovations and investments. Over the long run, we will evaluate how we can bring the best of both companies' products together for the benefit of consumers and their operators. We have long shared an ethos with Opera, which practically invented cloud-based compression and server-side acceleration. Now we look forward to building new products together.
This will be a chance to do more of why we joined Skyfire in the first place. We're passionate. We’re innovators. And true inventors want to build great things, and then they want millions of people around the world to use them. Opera’s over 100 operator customers, and their 300 million active monthly users provide a chance for Skyfire technology to find a larger global stage.
Earlier in my career, as some people may know, I worked for years on economic development in emerging markets. When I joined Skyfire as CEO almost 4 years ago, I had a vision that school kids in a village or a megacity in Africa or India or South America could gain access, on a cheap smartphone, to all the same learning, knowledge and entertainment available to their more wealthy equivalents in the developed world. They might never own a desktop computer, but they could likely own a smartphone. Thanks to Skyfire's video compression technology, they could get double the usage for their rupees or pesos, and watchable video even on crowded networks. They could participate in the wider world.
By joining forces with Opera, that dream now becomes in reach. Opera is a brand that shares that philosophy. Opera has tremendous reach in so many countries, especially places like Brazil, Russia, India, and China. In some of them, half of all mobile internet usage comes via Opera products. The next billion Internet users will be mobile users. We share the belief of Opera's original founders and employees that access to the web should be a universal right. As so much of the value of today's web comes via video and audio streaming, that belief just gained fresh and renewed relevance for a Web 3.0, mobile-first world.
This is not the end, but the start of a new chapter… Skyfire 3.0. Onward we go.