Home > Uncategorized > Opera in the Spotlight

Opera in the Spotlight

September 25, 2005

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.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 25, 2005 at 7:38 pm

    Well, what’s opera business plan now? Great decision to give up their revenue stream, so roaring 90s. It could very well be that this marks an emphasis shift away from opera desktop (read: no more features or bug fixes) or even a risk for the viability of the company.

  2. September 25, 2005 at 7:47 pm

    Well, what’s opera business plan now? Great decision to give up their revenue stream, so roaring 90s. It could very well be that this marks an emphasis shift away from opera desktop (read: no more features or bug fixes) or even a risk for the viability of the company.

    I think their plan is to continue making your comments look silly, Antonio!

    Perhaps, though, this will help you. 🙂

  3. September 25, 2005 at 8:08 pm

    Being the second doesn’t mean unseating Firefox: who said Firefox can’t be the first? This is just your guessing: CEO didn’t say that. 😛

  4. Anonymous
    September 26, 2005 at 4:21 am

    Oh dear… Goldman is editorializing…

    And trying to cover up the fact that his “major overhaul” was nonsense, and other sources caught the ad-free story.

    Sorry, but you never predicted that Opera would go ad-free. You were talking about Merlin or “the major overhaul” with a new UI and all that.

    Bummer, eh?

  5. Anonymous
    September 26, 2005 at 4:22 am

    minghong is a rabid firefox fanboy.

    firefox will NOT be #1, duh.

  6. Six of One
    September 26, 2005 at 8:39 am

    minghung,

    The truth of the matter is that the CEO said that he feels it is unrealistic to supplant IE (since it comes with Windows) as the most used browser. So, while he did not specificly say that he planned to unseat Firefox, it’s clearly implied that in becoming the 2nd most used browser, Firefox will have to fall by the side. ;P

  7. Six of One
    September 26, 2005 at 8:40 am

    minghong, even. Didn’t notice I missed the keystroke till I posted. Oh well.

  8. September 26, 2005 at 12:46 pm

    but you never predicted that Opera would go ad-free

    Actually he did. Not in the post you’re thinking of, but in the post he actually linked to in this one, back in August.

    There were two big pieces of news that got mixed up: The big changes to the business model, which turned out to be going free, and big changes to the software itself (in the “Merlin” update), which probably won’t show up until at least version 9.0.

    I have no idea where he got the idea that there would be UI changes, unless someone described the removal of the ads in terms of simplifying the UI.

  9. September 26, 2005 at 12:54 pm

    I have no idea where he got the idea that there would be UI changes, unless someone described the removal of the ads in terms of simplifying the UI.

    Kelson,

    You’re correct, my source knew about Opera going ad-free, however s/he didn’t want to tell it to me straight out. But did say it in the term of a big UI change is to be expected, meaning the removal of the ads.

  10. September 26, 2005 at 12:57 pm

    Six of One: Sure, Opera’s got realistic goals (being #2) and Firefox has idealistic goals (being #1).

    (Actually, this has characterized a lot of different approaches the two browsers have taken to problems. Take website compatibility, for instance. Both tried to account for as much broken HTML as possible, but for issues with bad browser detection, Mozilla focused more heavily on standards evangelism, while Opera implemented UA spoofing and, later, Browser JavaScript (and eventually the Open the Web evangelism program). Increasing use of standards is the ideal solution, since it benefits everyone, but adjusting the browser itself yields more immediate results.)

    Anyway, since Firefox’s goal is to be #1, and Opera’s goal is to be #2, those goals are entirely compatible. I don’t think it’s likely, and Firefox has a lot farther to go to achieve #1 than Opera has to achieve #2, but it’s at least mathematically possible.

  11. Anonymous
    September 26, 2005 at 5:37 pm

    Opera’s goal for NOW is to be #2. But #1 is possible if things change drastically and Microsoft’s monopoly is dissolved.

    Anyway, Opera Watch did NOT report Opera going free. It reported on “major UI changes”. The thing from August was pure speculation that people all over the place were guessing on.

  12. September 26, 2005 at 6:00 pm

    I personally think many users will switch from FF to Opera in the near future once they take the chance to try Opera. I think the most important reason for this is SPEED. Firefox has a nice rendering engine but its interface is just too slow (personally it annoys me even on my pretty modern hardware).

    This tendency can already be noted even on Linux forums which speaks for itself- we all know how most Linux lovers prefer to stay away from close-sourced software even when it’s free as in beer (like Opera).

  13. September 27, 2005 at 3:48 am

    My theory is that Opera will essentially replace Firefox as the popular alternative browser.As Mozilla’s codebase becomes increasingly bloated and as unforseen security issues arise, it will prompt users to look elsewhere.

    In closing, I believe Firefox as we know it will be dead before 2007.

    Aquabox PC
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  14. September 28, 2005 at 10:20 am

    @Six of One, thanks for fixing my name. 😛

    @Daniel DeVaney
    > In closing, I believe Firefox as we know it will be dead before 2007.

    LOL. You know this is highly unlikely (I didn’t say impossible). X-D

    Whatever. Only time will tell.

  15. Anonymous
    October 6, 2005 at 2:27 pm

    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.

    Webmasters shouldn’t have to pander to every browser; the browser devs should make their browsers render the standards properly.

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