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Wheelings & Dealings: A New Name in Mobile Ads, Apprupt, Lands a Buyer in Opera Software

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April 30, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: A New Name in Mobile Ads, Apprupt, Lands a Buyer in Opera Software

By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

Today was a pretty big day for Opera Software, a company that makes browsers for several different devices; not only did Opera bring out its quarterly numbers, but it also offered word on a whole new acquisition. The company picked up a mobile startup that focuses on rich media mobile advertising known as apprupt, which in turn will join the ranks of Opera Mediaworks, Opera's advertising arm. While some of the details about the apprupt acquisition were being kept somewhat quiet, the details that did emerge suggest some exciting new possibilities afoot.

Opera Mediaworks' CEO, Mahi de Silva, indeed kept some details quiet, noting in an interview that neither the size of the transaction overall nor its contributions to Opera's revenue were “...material today,” thus the overall silence on the terms of the deal. But what is known is that apprupt had previously been seen going after funding sources measured in the seven digits range  (in euros, however) from an array of investors, including KfW, Neuhaus Partners, and Deutsche Telekom (News - Alert) subsidiary operation T-Venture.

Opera, meanwhile, had something of a mixed bag in terms of reporting: Opera noted first quarter sales of $87 million, which in turn was up from its first quarter of 2013 by fully 40 percent. But earnings per share (EPS), meanwhile, dropped substantially, falling from $0.03 to $0.019 on the undiluted EPS measure and from $0.029 to $0.018 on the diluted scale. However, some have suggested that this cause may have something to do with some of Opera's new product development, including the recent launch of data savings app Opera Max as well as some changes made to its ad exchange mechanisms.

The acquisition of apprupt represents, at last report, the eighth such acquisition in just the last four years, and further reports note that there are likely more to follow, as de Silva noted that the company was “actively looking” for new potential means to “...deliver more value to our current and prospective customers around the world.”

Most look to Google (News - Alert) in terms of leadership in the mobile advertising space, and not without reason. Advertising has been a major part of the Google portfolio for some time now thanks to its overall lead in the search engine market, so mobile likely had to be a necessary expansion as the mobile market started to grow. But with companies like Opera and the like eager to get in on the rapidly expanding mobile market, said firms need a way to compete with a company that's naturally entrenched in the field. That means more and better technology, and companies like Opera left looking for ways to enhance offerings and make same more attractive to potential users. Given that apprupt already has a reach of around 22 million mobile users—with around 250 mobile websites and apps contained in the overall operation—that's a boost on several fronts for Opera.

Advertising is going to be a major underpinning to the Internet for some time to come. Though ad-blocking technology is getting increasingly more strenuous and users are more rapidly tuning out, much like on television, this is only going to prove the need for exploring new avenues for the use of advertising overall. Opera may well be in a better position to take advantage of these changes, but it will need to be a start rather than a conclusion to have the best effect overall.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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