Home > Interviews > Opera CEO: Goal to Become 2nd Most Used Browser

Opera CEO: Goal to Become 2nd Most Used Browser

September 20, 2005

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.

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Categories: Interviews
  1. Jakub81
    September 20, 2005 at 2:38 pm

    If the deal with Googel is good for Opera it’s OK. I still think Googel is EVIL, but if M$ couldn’t kill Opera nothing will. I might even consider using Google again, to help Opera with their revenues 😉

  2. Anonymous
    September 20, 2005 at 3:52 pm

    I think the overall quality of the Opera browser has been going down since the introduction of the 7 and 8 versions.

    The graphics colors are no longer realistic on outdoor scenes. They look like FireFox colors. Ugly!!

    The User Interface is worse since 7 and 8 becoming much jerkier and illogical with bad colors and buttons.

    I use Opera version 6.06 as that is the best version.

    I have loaded up versions 7 and 8 several times each and find them to be inferior browsers.

    Ron, Webmaster from Texas

  3. September 20, 2005 at 9:35 pm

    In order to reach the general public, Opera needs to be more native looking. The current default theme is “Opera Standard” and the native-looking “Windows Native” theme is just ugly.

    I’m not sure about other OS through. :-S

  4. September 20, 2005 at 10:30 pm

    Hmmm … I think Opera is very chic looking

  5. September 21, 2005 at 1:57 am

    I think the Opera Standard theme works fine on Windows. I mean, say you’ve got Windows Media Player, Microsoft Office, RealPlayer, IE, and Opera — they all look different already. But I do agree that the “windows native” theme could really use some work. And it really does stand out — badly — on the Mac.

    Well, it took a few releases for the Linux version to settle in, so I expect in another version or two the Mac version will be caught up. Maybe it already has — I haven’t installed 8.5 on my Mac yet.

  6. September 21, 2005 at 4:27 am

    I dont see any reason why Opera can’t beat Firefox now that it is free.
    The only big problem remaining is support for non standard technologies, but merlin would deal with that to a large extent.

    Now the only thing that Opera needs to do is to make people aware of it’s presence and I thinking the PR team is doing it’s best.

  7. September 21, 2005 at 11:00 am

    Our new search deal increases our search based revenue

    Anybody can say me, how opera can increase its search based revenue? Is it means that browser always will send URL of visited pages to Google?

    Yeah, before opera became ads-free, there were two variants:
    1) You look at the banner in top
    2) You send your URL history to the Google.

    Now, there is no first variant 🙂

    Hmm… it’s delusion idea, but may be Google will buy Opera in the future? :-)) FF is open project, but Opera is not. So, nobody can buy FF, but bot Opera…
    But, it’s only my thoughts.

  8. Anonymous
    September 21, 2005 at 3:48 pm

    I just downloaded and installed v8.5 and it looks like a quality browser. I enjoyed using it until I accidently loaded a RSS feed in the panel. It went off in some perpetual loop and I could not get the damn thing to stop. I could F4 and hide the panel, but couldn’t cancel the feed or re-establish any sanity to the panel function. I finally had to uninstall the program. I’ve been a Firefox user for about a year now and have never had any kind of goofy stuff like that happen. I was expecting better error handling with Opera…

  9. September 21, 2005 at 5:34 pm

    I just loaded an RSS feed into a panel. It did cause a sort of loop as you describe, but it was easy to stop: just right-clicking panel button and selecting “Remove panel” fixed it.

  10. September 22, 2005 at 6:17 am

    Denya whenever u search in google using opera’s search bar opera makes money.It is same with FF.

    Anyway Daneil it looks like ASA reads youe blog.
    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2005/09/opera_followup.html

    He said
    Tday I read, that the CE f pera wants pera t becme #2. “ur gal is t becme the number tw brwser,” he said, as part f the press rll-ut arund this new “free” message they’re pushing.

    I’ve always been partial t the #1 spt and have always believed that’s where we’re headed with Firefx. I wish pera all the success in the wrld at achieving their gal and will be happy t see them achieve that #2 brwser spt — right behind Firefx 🙂

  11. Anonymous
    September 22, 2005 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks, hallvord. I didn’t try right clicking on the panel button. I was trying to cancel the feed and that is when I found that program was locked in a confilct with itself. When this hurricane (Rita) gets finished with us I plan to give Opera another try…..GOD willing.

  12. October 6, 2005 at 7:39 pm

    The idea of Google acquiring Opera isn’t actually so laughable at all. Its the second largest commercial browser, right ? Now, with the upcoming ever-tight integration between Opera and Google, i wouldn’t find it very strange for the Google execs to ponder across the idea. Google is a pretty known risk-investor. Especially lately, when they are throwing money left and right on growing new branches (gtalk, glibrary, google earth), that might never really be competitive or create any real revenua. But with the browser, it’d be far less risky, as they could force it on users by going like “Google browser – best browser ever” on their sites. And, in my humble opinion, they wouldn’t even be lying. With Google’s financial capabilities, the browser could easily be reformed and tuned to far surpass everything seen so far. And it can be easily explained to any google users that he/she really wants it. Now, rave reviews abound, they could take it even further.
    Now, Opera could do much with it’s, by then, newfound recognition. Why is Opera in the shadows now. because your average joe doesn’t know about it and he doesn’t know why he’d like it.
    And Google could meld it into some kind of evercapable tool, playing music, shopping, searching, chatting, gmailing and browsing about. Considering that of the mainstream browsers, Opera is arguably the best. Not only, it is the only one that could possibly be bought.
    In reality, even now, we’re doing our first steps in the internet-age. Whoever stays on top in the next, say, 10 years, might stay on top for another 50. It is crucial to come with full force now. Microsoft is taking steps against Google’s ascension. For the first time in many years, the discord and opposition of the two companies, is open and out for all to see. It’s IT-war as never before. And my guess is, in the big picture, there will be only one clear winner. And Google, as Steve Ballmer charmingly put it, is “but a house of cards” compared to microsoft. So they should take all measures and fight on all fronts with full force. My guess is, acquiring Opera will be one of those measures.

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