updated 07:48 am EST, Tue February 19, 2013
Large contingent took severance package before Christmas
Opera's move from the Presto rendering engine to WebKit has forced the company to restructure its development teams. The Core Technology division, consisting of around 100 developers, has dropped by more than 90 positions in the last quarter, with overall employee numbers reduced from 931 to 840 in the most recent quarterly report.
According to Digi.no, a "large contingent" took a severance package before Christmas, including some developers that joined the company shortly after being founded. A further 50 to 70 employees left with severance packages in January 2013, while other team members were shifted to other parts of the company. Speaking to TechCrunch, Lasse Magnussen believed "the process, from Opera's side, was done, IMO, very professionally and the severance package we were offered was voluntary as well as substantial." Magnussen left the company after more than 14 years of employment.
Opera CEO Lars Boilesen later confirmed the cuts were directly linked with the switch to WebKit, and that half of the 90 jobs reduced in the Core team were developer roles, the rest being for less technical tasks. "We think WebKit's good enough, to switch, and by doing that we free up a lot of resources," said Boilesen, while explaining that there are now double the amount of people working on desktop products, as well as a number of other projects.