Opera, which used to be the dominant mobile browser in a market now controller by Safari and Chrome, said the licensing agreement applies to mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40 and Asha software platforms.
The company said as part of the agreement any users of Xpress, the current default Microsoft browser on those phones, will be encouraged to upgrade to the latest Opera Mini browser.
Factory-new devices will have Opera Mini pre-installed.
The move means Opera and Microsoft are now both challenging Apple together - Opera in the browser space and Microsoft for handset sales. Microsoft needs all the help it can get, too, with current figures showing global market share is at just 2.7%.
“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,” said Rich Bernardo, head of legacy business, Phones, Microsoft.
“The agreement with Opera will enable us to provide continuity of service as we transition from Xpress Browser to Opera Mini.”
“This is a great opportunity to spread the benefits of Opera Mini to millions more consumers in our core markets. There are still massive numbers of people who have not moved to smartphones, but Opera Mini can provide them with an amazing browsing experience right now,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software.
Reuters reported in the second quarter Opera's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 24% to $27 million, beating forecasts for $24.7 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.