Opera’s WebKit switch saw it lose 90 employees, many developers

Opera logoNorwegian browser developer Opera saw 90 employees, about half of whom were developers, leave the company during the fourth quarter of 2012. This was first reported by Digi.no.

The loss of the development staff was attributed to Opera's decision to start using the WebKit rendering engine instead of its own Presto engine. The remainder of the staff worked in other parts of the company, including marketing and sales. The company says the job losses were voluntary redundancies rather than (involuntary) lay-offs, with support and severance packages offered to all those leaving.

Speaking to Ars, Opera Vice President of Communications Nils Broström said that the use of WebKit meant that Opera could "put our clever people on developing end user benefits and innovations rather than developing and maintaining our own core."

While the company sought to fill new "product related positions" through internal recruitment from the core Presto team, there was (unsurprisingly) some attrition in this process.

In an interview with Digi.no, Opera's CEO Lars Boilesen notes that as a result of the WebKit transition, the company now has twice the resources working on the desktop as it previously did. Freed from having to expend effort on its engine, the company can focus on the interface and other software features. He also said that the company planned to increase its overall headcount over the next year.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: browsers, Opera, WebKit

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