Opera Software has signed a partnership with Microsoft that will pre-install Opera Mini as the default browser on Microsoft’s featurephones and Asha phones.
Included in the licensing agreement are devices based on the Series 30+, Series 40, and Asha software platforms. The news isn’t as big a boon for Opera Software when you consider that Microsoft plans to stop manufacturing almost all of those phones by the end of 2015. Part of the chop includes axing 18,000 jobs this year, with almost two-thirds of the positions at the Nokia mobile division it bought for $7.2 billion in April.
Users who already own a phone and use Xpress, the current default browser, will be directed to upgrade to Opera Mini. An Opera spokesperson told TechCrunch that users will begin to receive notifications in October 2014, with precise dates varying among product lines, and that people transitioning browsers will get support from Opera until December 2015. The Xpress browser will enter maintenance mode until December 2015, when it will be shut down.
Opera Mini is Opera Software’s mobile browser. The company says that it currently has around 250 million users, over 100 million of whom has Android smartphones.
“We continue to sell and support classic first and feature phones as well as the Asha range, which have performed well with millions of people who want new mobile experiences at lower price points. The agreement with Opera will enable us to provide continuity of service as we transition from Xpress Browser to Opera Mini,” said Rich Bernardo, the head of legacy business, Phones, at Microsoft.