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IBM Internet guru takes a role at Opera

John Patrick, who is credited with bringing the Internet to Big Blue, joins Web browser company Opera Software's board of directors.

John Patrick, who was credited with bringing the Internet to IBM, joined Web browser company Opera Software on Friday.

Patrick spent 35 years at IBM, during which he was part of the team that started the company's leasing business, launched IBM's ThinkPad brand, and was credited with introducing IBM to a new communications technology called the Internet. He was also a founding member of the World Wide Web Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994 and a senior member of standards body the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

According to Patrick's blog, he "e-tired" from IBM just over two years ago, which means that although he wasn't working full time, he engaged in public speaking, writing and some charity work: "I say 'e-tired' because it is really more like 'phase two'--I still feel very connected to IBM and the Internet technology industry," he said.

Christian Thommessen, chairman of Opera, said in a statement that the Norwegian company is excited about appointing Patrick to a position on the company's board of directors. "Opera is thrilled to gain John's influence and unique insight that is based on extraordinary experience in developing the potential of the Internet," he said.

In a statement, Patrick said: "Opera has a creative and pioneering spirit combined with a sharp focus on bringing advanced browsing technology to the pervasive handheld devices being used by people in every corner of the earth."

Munir Kotadia of ZDNet UK reported from London.