Norway's Opera Software ASA reported Monday an 87 percent drop in fourth quarter profits, due to increased operating costs and a dip in revenue.

The Oslo-based company said net profit for the quarter tumbled to 3.7 million kroner ($625,000) from 29.3 million kroner the year before.

Revenue for the October through December period slipped to 142.5 million kroner ($24.1 million) from 157 million kroner in 2008, with a decline in European and Asian markets offsetting growth in the U.S. and Canada.

Meanwhile, Opera's operating expenses grew 9 percent in the period compared to 2008 because of increased infrastructure and marketing costs, as well as higher payroll expenses incurred after the company hired some 200 new employees in 2009.

The software manufacturer gave a positive outlook, saying "it is well positioned to take advantage" of "megatrends" in the cell phone and television industries as a growing number of consumers browse the Internet on non-computer platforms.

On Feb. 10, the company revealed a version of its Opera Mini mobile phone browser for Apple's iPhone. It has not yet set a release date.

However, the company also warned of cost-cutting measures in the form of "restructuring" in 2010, but didn't give specifics.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Opera browser was a strong alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer and Time Warner Inc.'s Netscape. But its popularity has diminished with the rise of Netscape's successor, Mozilla's Firefox.

Oslo-based Opera employs about 760 people in 10 countries.


On the Net: