In a surprising move, Opera Software has acquired web based e-mail provider FastMail.FM for an undisclosed sum. FastMail will continue to operate as usual for the moment; however, changes are definitely in the pipeline.
Back in the day, FastMail.FM used to be one of the best free e-mail providers. However, it was one of many email providers left in the lurch by the Gmail revolution. While others like Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Mail have marched into the modern webmail era by introducing desktop client like interfaces, huge inbox sizes and other fancy features, FastMail.FM still feels like a reminder of the bygone days.
Exactly what Opera plans to do with Fastmail.FM is not clear. However, it’s safe to assume that Fastmail will be replacing the existing Opera Mail service. Opera has also hinted that it will be building upon FastMail to deliver cross-platform messaging.
Excerpts from Opera’s Press Release:
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.
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.
Excerpts from Fastmail’s Statement:
In an increasingly competitive market, we believe we need to make some big investments to take the next steps forward. Joining together Opera’s expertise in web browsers and especially the mobile market, and FastMail.FM’s expertise in email, will allow us to grow and take on the next big challenges in running and building an email service.
The FastMail.FM staff are also excited about this change. We’ve already been working with Opera’s technical teams to exchange expertise, and to develop new and innovative products. Some FastMail.FM staff are already gearing up to move to Norway (Hei!), and vice-versa. Also one of our great long-term part time developers (Neil Jenkins), who helped develop the photo gallery feature, and the new webmail interface (all the HTML, CSS and JS), is going to work for Opera full-time as well, so he’ll be available to work with the email team to build an even better interface!
With Opera’s expertise, and the combined technical talent of our staff, we believe we’ll be able to create a significantly better FastMail for customers in the future.