Mobile Web browser software firm Skyfire Labs has raised $13 million in Series B funding. What will they do with it? Build out their PC-quality Web browser — currently in private beta for phones running Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Mobile — to other phones and operating systems.
Skyfire’s not alone in trying to bring a better browser to mobile phones: Opera Software has been doing this for years, and Mozilla (SAI 25 #5) is working on a version of Firefox for smartphones. Apple’s (AAPL) Safari browser is present on its iPhones, and phones running Google’s (GOOG) Android OS will run a similar browser.
But all of this is excellent news for wireless carriers like AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), and Sprint Nextel (S). Why? We think better browsers make surfing the mobile Web a more powerful and less frustrating experience, which means more people are likely to do it. Which means more subscribers to all-you-can-eat monthly data plans — which carriers are counting on for growth as revenue from plain-vanilla mobile phone calls declines.
Lightspeed Venture Partners led Skyfire’s funding round; previous investors Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures also contributed. The company has now raised $17.8 million.
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