Opera Fires Developers After Announcing Shift To WebKit

Desktop and mobile web browser company Opera has announced plans to fire part of its core developer team. News of the layoffs come just after the browser manufacturer announced plans to shift from its own web-rendering engine Presto to the more popular WebKit standard.

Opera is now dismantling part of a core developer team. According to Digi.no, the company’s core team of around 100 Opera developers has shrunk by more than 90 positions. According to the report, many of those developers decided to take a severance package before Christmas.

The report states that among those leaving were “veterans Yngve Pettersen, André Shultz and Lasse Magnussen.” Lasse had been with the company for nearly 15 years.

While some workers were fired outright, others chose to jump into other positions within the Opera infrastructure. Last quarter, Opera reduced its staff from 931 to 840 employees.

Opera notes that more “final product” roles have been created at Opera thanks to the WebKit switch-over.

OperaCEO, Lars Boilesen, confirmed the layoffs to Techcrunch:

“We will still have a Core team but it will be less people going forward.”

The developer team now employs approximately 600 roles. Many programmers at Opera are now serving as part of several projects at one time to maximize productivity. The company has nearly doubled the number of members on its desktop team and plans to roll out a new user interface with a “brand new product” in Q3 2013.

Opera is currently supported by 300 million users across its products for mobile, tablets, PCs, and TVs.

With Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and various other web platforms moving towards WebKit support, the transition should be fairly smooth for Opera.

The company plans to roll out fully supported WebKit platforms within the year.