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Archive for December, 2005

A look ahead at Opera 2006

December 29, 2005 9 comments

As we’re counting down the final days of 2005, let’s take a peek ahead at Opera 2006.

Let’s start with a topic that’s probably on the forefront of most Opera users, the Opera market share. The Opera browser has been around for more than 10 years already, and all it mustered out was about 1 percent of the browser market share. Opera has taken many initiatives to increase its market share this past year, with its biggest one, no doubt, by removing the ads from the browser.

When Opera decided to remove the ads earlier this year, I was asked by a reporter to give an estimated time of when Opera would have a similar percent of the market share as what Firefox had at that time. Sadly it appears to me that I will be far off from my estimation. My opinion was published in an article, though I won’t say who published it.

Opera’s user base is growing, but not as fast as we would like it. I hope that Opera won’t be like Apple computer, which has been hovering around the same small (but devoted, like Opera) user base for what seems like ages.

Opera will be working hard on increasing its user base over the next year. I’ve been told that Opera is working on a new campaign towards bringing mass-market adoption to its desktop browser.

The focus of the new campaign will be on simplifying Opera’s message for the mass consumer. Opera will focus more on the value of features than the features themselves. You may not care about the yellow security bar, but you do care that Opera will protect you from identity theft. You don’t care about zoom, you want to see the page better. Those will be some of the more apparent tweaks.

It appears that Opera is also trying to establish more of a presence in the US market. It has opened multiple offices here (in the US) and is currently looking to hire some marketing people. This probably won’t affect the desktop market, but the mobile market should see a boost as a result. Currently Opera’s main user base is in Europe.

One thing I would definitely like to see in the coming year is the Opera browser being shipped together with Windows by PC manufactures. Other alternative browser, such as Firefox and Netscape, are already pre-installed by some manufactures; I certainly hope Opera is next.

Now that there is an increased awareness of alternative browsers, I believe that the Opera browser will have less of an issue with broken sites.

In coming year version 9 of Opera will be released, which will contain many new and important additions.

Opera will also be releasing a version of its browser for the Pocket PC for the first time ever. Pocket PC users have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The PocketPC version is expected to be released in January.

Opera Mini will also make it official debut in January. Opera is putting in a lot of money and marketing into making Opera Mini a huge success. The launch of Opera Mini is very different, and more challenging, than a launch of the desktop browser. I’ve been in touch with the people who are working on the marketing side of Opera Mini, and they are very much aware of the challenges that lie ahead to get Opera Mini out to the masses.

The mobile market seems to be the brightest for Opera, as it already has a solid foothold in that market. I expect to see Opera’s growth with its mobile browser increase substantially.

Here at Opera Watch I’m working on some big changes, for the better (I hope), though it would be premature for me to talk about the details now.

I deeply appreciate your dedication and loyalty, and thanks for your continued support. You can continue to count on Opera Watch for the inside scoops and latest buzz on the Opera browser.

Looking forward to Opera 2006.

Categories: Editorial

Slashdot to interview the man behind Opera

December 29, 2005 14 comments

Slashdot is soliciting questions for an interview with Opera’s CEO Jon von Tetzchner.

Every so often Slashdot solicits questions for an interview; its editors select the top 10-12 questions.

I’d be curious to see the kind of questions the slashdot community comes up with, it has a reputation of being anti-Opera. When I was slashdotted last week, most of visitors coming from Slashdot were users of the Firefox browser, according to the server logs.

I found slashdot’s post kind of interesting. See below.

From Slashdot:

Opera Software has gotten all kinds of media play lately, including rumors that both Google and Microsoft were buying the company. Whether you love or hate Opera, you’ve got to give them credit for building a decent browser and grabbing a small but noticeable market share in the face of competition from both MSIE and Firefox.

Co-founder/CEO Jon von Tetzchner is obviously responsible for at least some of this success — and for much of the company’s high press profile, due not only to the Opera Browser itself but to at least one whacky PR stunt and at least one high-profile beef with Microsoft. So who is this guy? Ask and find out.

He’s obviously not your typical software company CEO, so we don’t expect typical CEO-type answers from him.

On a side note, Priya Ganapati over at Red Herring Magazine had a Q&A session of her own with Opera’s CEO.

Categories: Interviews

Happy Holidays from Opera Watch

December 23, 2005 7 comments

Happy Opera holidays to all of my fellow Opera Watch readers.

opera.snowman.bear2
Photo courtesy of Opera Software.

Categories: Uncategorized

Is Opera looking to be bought?

December 23, 2005 7 comments

I was just talking to a reporter, who brought up an interesting point regarding all these rumors of Opera being acquired by larger companies.

The issue isn’t whether Google or Microsoft was looking to buy Opera, but rather whether Opera is looking to sell itself. What is Opera’s strategy? Do they want to remain independent and grow the company? Or sell to some other company?

I have spoken to a few top Opera insiders over the past week, and the feeling that I got was that Opera is not shopping itself around. One insider told me “Opera is his baby” (referring to Opera’s founder and CEO) he would never sell it no matter the dollar size.

Categories: Uncategorized

Opera CEO emphatically denies Microsoft takeover

December 23, 2005 4 comments

In an email this morning, Opera’s CEO, Jon von Tetzchner, emphatically denied any takeover by Microsoft, saying “Just for the record: We are NOT about to sell out to MS.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Next company to acquire Opera?

December 23, 2005 15 comments

Given the recent surge in acquisition rumors (first Google, and now Microsoft), I thought it would be nice to see which company Opera Watch readers think will be in the next rumor claiming that it will purchase Opera.

  • Yahoo (Yahoopera)
  • Apple (Appera)
  • Nokia (Nopera)
  • McDonald’s (McDopera)
  • Other

Vote here.

Categories: Uncategorized

Rumor Control: Microsoft not buying Opera

December 23, 2005 9 comments

I have received several emails today from Opera Watch readers telling me about an article on CoolTechZone reporting that Microsoft bought Opera.

The article has been slashdotted, so I didn’t have a chance to read it, however, Slashdot is quoting Opera’s Berit Hanson “last week it was Google, this week it’s Microsoft. If I was working for Microsoft I think I’d know it, but I’m still in Oslo, not Washington, still working for Opera.”

This all started yesterday when John Dvorak wrote a commentary suggesting that for Microsoft to reclaim its momentum in the browser market it should buy Opera.

I happened to speak (by phone) with Microsoft’s Robert Scoble last night, who told me that it would be extremely unlikely for Microsoft to buy Opera. He told me that if this were to occur it’s likely that the US Justice Department would view this as a monopoly, and block the purchase.

Opera’s phones have been ringing off the hook today, by the press seeking comment about this rumor.

Categories: Uncategorized