Opera Software Acquires Email Service Provider FastMail.FM (Updated)

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Please Pass The Bong, Carol

The Norwegian software company has yet to make any announcements of its own, but Opera has acquired email service provider FastMail.FM, according to a message posted on the latter’s company blog.

The terms of the agreements are not disclosed, but the Australia-based company in a notice said it will continue to run its email service, which has been in operation for over 10 years.

Here’s the announcement:

Some exciting changes will be occurring with FastMail.FM. FastMail.FM has been acquired by Opera Software, the developers of the Opera web browser. For more information about Opera, please visit http://www.opera.com.

This is great news for FastMail.FM users. FastMail.FM will continue to run and grow as the reliable email service you’ve known for over 10 years. We’ll be combining forces with Opera’s technical teams, expertise and products to develop new and innovative products.

FastMail has included a FAQ, in which it says that users who wish to NOT transfer their accounts over to Opera have to go into settings and indicate just that. Not acting upon the email the company sent out to its users or actively accepting the transfer will result in Opera assuming control over the mailbox and the account registration details.

As to the reason for selling, FastMail says the market was getting increasingly competitive and that Opera’s expertise in web browsers and especially the mobile market would help the company grow and take on the next big challenges in running and building an email service.

Some FastMail.FM staff will be making the move to Norway, and the company says it has already been working with Opera’s technical teams to exchange expertise, and to develop new products. It will be interesting to see what eventually comes out of this deal.

This is Opera’s second acquisition this year – it had earlier spent $8 million in cash to buy mobile advertising startup AdMarvel.

Update: the official release just hit our inbox:

Oslo, Norway – April 30, 2010 – Opera Software today announced that it has acquired Web-based e-mail provider FastMail.fm. The acquisition will enable Opera to expand its current messaging product portfolio and deliver cross-platform messaging to a wide range of devices, including computers, mobile phones, TVs and gaming consoles.

Headquartered in Australia, FastMail.fm has forged a reputation for responsiveness and reliability. The company already offers some of the most advanced Web-based e-mail platforms for consumers and small business customers and has been lauded for its approach to security, focus on innovation, and support for open, interoperable standards.

Since the release of Opera 4 in 2000, Opera’s desktop browser has included its own innovative e-mail client. Following this acquisition, Opera will be able to offer a consistent e-mail experience across all products. Opera currently has more than 50 million users of its desktop browser and more than 55 million users of Opera Mini, a mobile Web browser that works on almost all handsets available today.

“The newest generation of Web users will discover the Web through a mobile device. Having world-class messaging capability alongside a rich and compelling Web experience is essential. By combining forces, Opera and FastMail.fm can offer messaging on any device. This will enhance the value Opera provides to consumers, while assisting our operator partners in reducing customer churn,” says Rolf Assev, Chief Strategy Officer, Opera Software.

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