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Opera's Mini browser to be installed on Microsoft phones

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian software maker Opera signed a deal to take over the browser building unit of Microsoft's Nokia mobile phone unit and reported second-quarter earnings above expectations on Thursday, sending it shares sharply higher.

"We have signed a strategic licensing deal with Microsoft. We are basically taking over the browser building department in Nokia," Opera Chief Executive Lars Boilsesen said. "This means that Opera Mini will become the default browser for Microsoft's feature phone product lines and the Asha phones product lines."

The deal will be profitable from the start, he added.

Opera shares rose 6.5 percent to 80.45 crowns a share by 0304 EST on the deal and the earnings report.

"All the current user base will be encouraged to upgrade to Opera Mini and all the new phones will come with Opera Mini pre-installed as a default browser. This is a great deal for us. We have dreamed of this for more than 10 years."

In a separate statement, Opera said the licensing agreement applies to mobile phones based on the Series 30+, Series 40 and Asha software platforms.

"As part of the agreement, people who use the current browser for these phones, Xpress, will be encouraged to upgrade to the latest Opera Mini browser. Factory-new devices will have Opera Mini pre-installed."

In the second quarter, Opera's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 24 percent to $27 million, beating forecasts for $24.7 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.

The firm said it now sees full-year EBITDA in a range of $117 million to $124 million, up from a previous guidance for $110-120 million, and it sees revenues at $480-500 million versus a previous forecasts for $435-460 million.

(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg, writing by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

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