Actually, if this article from CoolTechZone is accurate, the deal is already sealed and done.
And here I was, sitting here wondering about the reason for Opera, the most well-knowned commercial web browser, going freeware. Where will they get income? Advertising has already been pulled out from their web browsers. Opera for mobile devices? Most users are already happy with their bundled browser, and I don’t foresee any IT professionals forking out cash for a browser on a device that they’ll at most, occasionally, use. I have read somewhere that Opera has clinched a deal to bundle their browser in a line of mobile phones, but I doubt that the deal was lucrative enough.
I guess this recent development makes everything much clearer now. Let’s hope that Microsoft will make full use of the technological advances available from Opera to make IE better. Honestly, how can such a highly successfully software company produce such a lame browser.
Update: This rumour has been proven untrue (Thank God!).