But Opera's CTO maintained that that was just one factor of several that led the company to decide to abandon decades of work.
"It was one of the things we considered," said Hakon Wium Lie in a Wednesday interview. However, he declined to comment on when, or even if, the move to WebKit would lead to an Opera browser that would meet with Apple's approval.
"I'm not going to comment on future products," said Lie, echoing language that Apple executives themselves use when asked about unannounced plans. "And I can't comment on [release] dates because I don't have dates."
Apple maintains a tight hold on iOS by restricting what can, and cannot, be installed on an iPhone or iPad from the App Store. Its rules, for instance, bar third-party browsers that do not rely on Apple's version of WebKit, which powers iOS's default Safari browser.
Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, said much the same as Lie when asked whether the App Store/iOS factor was a primary reason for Opera's surprising decision.
"This may be one factor," Hilwa acknowledged. "[But] the bigger factors are, one, that hurried developers are increasingly coding to WebKit browsers at the exclusion of others, and two, it is more cost-effective for Opera to absorb all the open-source work in WebKit and Chromium, instead of having to re-invent the wheel every day."
And Chrome is already in the iOS App Store, having debuted there last June.