Apple has blocked the Opera web browser from the iTunes App Store, preventing iPhone users from using the software, according to a report in The New York Times.

Opera is a web browser with a relatively small market share on the desktop computer, however, it is a common web browser found on mobile phones and smartphones.

According to the report, handset makers typically pay Opera around 5 cents to $1 to run the software on the iPhone. Opera would have looked to sell the software directly to iPhone owners through the iTunes App store.

Mr. von Tetzchner, Opera's co-founder and chief executive told the New York Times that 'Opera’s engineers had developed a version of Opera Mini that can run on an Apple iPhone, but Apple wouldn't let the company release it because it competes with Apple’s own Safari browser.'

Opera has two web browsers for mobile phones, a full featured browser called Opera Mobile, and a lighter program called Opera Mini, which requests simplified versions of web pages that makes for a faster web browsing experience.

The situation once again raises the nature of Apple's control over the App Store. The original rules stated that no porn or malicious apps would be allowed on the store, but this is increasingly being used to include apps that compete with Apple's own software.

Opera is one of the world's most popular mobile web browsers, but Apple has prevented iPhone users from using it

Be the first to hear about the latest Mac news with Macworld Mainline, our FREE Mac newsletter. Click here to sign up and get news reports direct to your inbox.