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Opera Software has bought up mobile ad broker AdMarvel, joining Apple and Google in the rush to push advertising onto our mobile phones.

Financial details of the deal haven't been revealed, but Opera will take complete control of California-based AdMarvel with a view to carving itself a space in mobile-advertising, before Apple and Google divide it between themselves.

Opera Mobile is, without doubt, one of the best mobile browsers, but it's also handed out free by the company. It clearly isn't making enough money charging manufacturers to pre-install the software, and so plans to expand its mobile advertising capabilities.

Opera has always maintained that advertising within its browser will be limited to providing links to partner services, such as the default Google search that comes embedded in the address bar of Opera Mobile 10. But the company also claims that end-users will always have the ability to remove such links or alter them - on the basis that few users ever bother and thus the advertising is non-intrusive.

Opera's Turbo service routes sessions though the company's servers, in theory enabling Phorm-esque tracking and advertising placement, should Opera decide to offer such a thing in exchange for greater browsing speed. AdMarvel has traffic management and analytic software which would fit well with such an offering, with the customer able to opt out (or in) as they wish.

Certainly it's the tracking and management of mobile advertising that Opera will be interested in from AdMarvel, and while greater targeting may come later, the important thing now is to have an offering in place.

Opera is no stranger to taking on big players. On the desktop its free browser still competes with Firefox and IE, but one has to wonder if taking on Apple and Google at the same time isn't a step too far. ®

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