Archive for September, 2005

MCNLive is First Linux-Based Distro to Include Opera 8.5

September 28, 2005 7 comments

MCNLive, a Mandriva-based live CD, is the first Linux based distro to include the new ad-free Opera 8.5.

Perhaps this is a sign of what’s to come, now that the Opera browser is ad-free.

Categories: Uncategorized

Opera in the Spotlight

September 25, 2005 15 comments

What a week it has been for Opera.

It all started a little over a week ago, when I was told that there will be a major overhaul to the Opera browser. And indeed on Tuesday Opera announced that it will remove the ads from the desktop browser.

The talk about an ad-free Opera browser started in earnest about a month ago when I wrote that Opera was considering going ad-free.

My posts generated lots of speculation and rumors on many different sites and forums.

Then it came true last Tuesday.

In my mail inbox, on Tuesday morning, was an email I got from Opera informing me that they had decided to go ad-free. There was a buzz all over the internet about Opera monumental decision.

It received lots of media attention, which was generally very positive. Slashdot, which is usually a non-Opera friendly site, posted multiple stories about Opera on its main page, and generated close to 1000 comments, mostly positive.

Many people have since asked me how I feel about Opera decision. Well, I must say that I believe this was long overdue. In a market where virtually no other major browser had built-in ads, Opera stood out. People don’t like seeing ads, as a result many potential Opera users stayed away.

The ads, in some ways, contributed to Opera’s small market share. With 10 to 15 million active users, Opera had less than 1 percent of the market share. And with the recent success of Firefox and its growing market share (currently at 7-8 percent), Opera still hovered at less than 1 percent.

Having a big market share is not just for bragging rights, it’s almost essential for every browser. There are, unfortunately, still some sites out there that don’t work correctly with Opera. Those webmasters aren’t compelled to make their sites Opera-compatible cause of Opera’s small market share. Webmasters would naturally be forced to make their websites Opera compatible, if Opera were to have a bigger market share.

I believe that Opera will have a much easier time now at increasing their market share. It will level the playing field with Firefox, and as Opera’s CEO told me last week, Opera’s goal is to unseat Firefox and to be the second most popular browser.

Perhaps as an indication of what’s to come, in the first three days since the browser went ad-free, the browser was downloaded more than 1.6 million times.

I’m very excited about Opera’s future.

Categories: Uncategorized

Opera Reaches One Million Downloads in Two Days

September 22, 2005 15 comments

More than one million people have downloaded the Opera browser in the two days since Opera announced it was dropping the ads and going completely free.

The download rate doubles the previous record reached in April when Opera 8 was released.

According to server logs, a majority of downloads came from Internet Explorer users.

An Opera spokesman told me that Opera had a lot more downloads because that number only counts the ones from Opera’s servers. “We know, for example, that over 200,000 copies have been downloaded through third-party sites in Poland. So the numbers will be larger. But say one million to be safe.”

Categories: Statistics

Opera for the Pocket PC Coming Soon

September 21, 2005 6 comments

A Technical Preview of Opera for the Pocket PC is due out very soon.

Pocket PC users have been waiting for this for a long time. This will be the first ever version for the Pocket PC.

It appears to me that this version will require Windows Mobile 5.0.

Updte (9/23 4:01 PM): According to Eskil Sivertsen from Opera, Opera for the Pocket PC will be available for both Windows Mobile 2003 and 5.0.

Categories: Uncategorized

Opera CEO: Goal to Become 2nd Most Used Browser

September 20, 2005 12 comments

With the big decision today by Opera to make its browser completely ad-free, I had the chance to interview Jon von Tetzchner, the CEO and founder of Opera, about this very important decision.

Opera Watch: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with Opera Watch. First I’d like to say ‘Kudos to Opera’ for making this very important move in the right direction. I believe that the ads played a big role in Opera’s poor market share. I see a very bright future for Opera in the desktop market that will have a positive effect throughout Opera’s other markets.

Jon von Tetzchner: Thanks.

Opera Watch: When did Opera start thinking about removing the ads? And what was the deciding factor that tipped the scale?

Jon von Tetzchner: We have been wanting to do this for some time. We have seen that people that really wanted to use Opera have been using other browsers because of the banner. Now that the banner is no longer there, we are hoping for and expecting a significant increase in our user base.

What finally made this possible is the increase in revenues from search and service partners. We can now go free and still increase our revenues. That allows us to increase our efforts on the browser, so all in all a very positive situation for everybody involved.

Opera Watch: Did Firefox’s success play any role in Opera’s decision to remove the ads?

Jon von Tetzchner: Firefox’s success is a spur for us. We see that people want a better browser and very many consider Opera to be the best choice.

Opera Watch: What effect do you think this will have on Opera’s market share? What percent of the market share do you anticipate Opera having in 12 to 18 months?

Jon von Tetzchner: Our overall goal on the desktop is to become the 2nd most used browser. I would have liked to say the most used, but given that IE comes with Windows, we will have to settle for the 2nd spot… for now. That will require a lot of work, but with the support of our community, I believe we can get there.

Opera Watch: Now that the desktop browser is totally free, how can you assure the Opera community of Opera’s commitment to the desktop?

Jon von Tetzchner: I really think action talks louder than words. I am sure Merlin will demonstrate our commitment to the Opera community and to our desktop product. We already have more people working on our desktop product than ever and this move will allow us to do even more…

Opera Watch: Opera renegotiated its contract with Google; can you elaborate on this?

Jon von Tetzchner: We have been working with Google for a long time. Our new search deal increases our search based revenue, which is an important factor in our decision to go free. We are also working with Google to make sure their services work well with Opera.

Opera Watch: Opera is a commercial company; how do you plan on generating revenue from the desktop browser?

Jon von Tetzchner: Through search and service deals. We will continue to provide services that enhance the browser experience. We were the first to include the search bar and we believe that has increased productivity a lot for our users. We will continue to add services, as long as they improve the overall user experience. The user comes first.

Opera Watch: It is said that Opera has the most loyal users. What role, in your mind, does the Opera community play in the success of Opera? And how does the community affect the decisions made at Opera?

Jon von Tetzchner: The community is very, very important. Opera would not be where it is today if it were not for the community. We know that and we know that we must continue to work very hard to provide the best possible browser and Internet client. We will continue to listen carefully to what the community has to say and focus on what the community wants. Your wish is our command.

Categories: Interviews

A look ahead at Opera 9 (Merlin)

September 20, 2005 30 comments

With the release today of Opera 8.5, we’re already eager to know what’s in store for the next major release, Opera 9 (codename Merlin).

Well, Opera has been working on version 9 for sometime already and according to Tim Altman, from Opera QA, they are “getting ever closer to releasing a preview”.

Major parts of the layout engine have been rewritten for this release, according to Olafur Arnason, a Windows Test Manager at Opera (who goes by the nickname Olli on the Opera forums). In addition, Opera is also working on improving the browser’s standards support by adding XSLT, some CSS3 support, WebForms 2 and more.

Rich Text Editing support for Web pages will also be included in Opera 9.

And on the mail side, IMAP is being worked into Opera’s mail client.

Categories: Desktop

Flash: Opera Goes Ad-Free

September 20, 2005 15 comments

Acknowledging that the ads have limited mass adoption of the browser, Opera is now offering its desktop browser completely ad-free.

Opera Watch was correct with its prediction about a month ago when I predicted that the browser will go ad-free.

There have been a lot of rumors over the last few days. First with the major UI overhaul, apparently my source was referring to the fact the ads will be removed from the UI.

Opera is not giving up the desktop market, it has negotiated a revised contract with Google which includes a search revenue deal, marketing support and technical cooperation. Opera expects this contract to increase the revenue per user.

The new release, Opera 8.5, has been released today with the new changes.

Until version 5, Opera didn’t have a free version of its desktop browser. In the year 2000, however, it introduced the free version with ads.

This is an excellent move for Opera; I’m extremely excited about Opera’s future. This is something that I and many other people have been waiting for a long time. It will no doubt increase Opera market share.

Having a big market share is not just for bragging rights, it’s almost essential for every browser. Webmasters would naturally be forced to make their websites Opera compatible, if Opera were to have a bigger market share.

I’ll have a lot more to come, I expect to speak with Opera’s CEO shortly. I’m just overwhelmed with this news.

Kudos to Opera!

Categories: Desktop