Archive for September 20, 2005

Opera is now ad and cost free…

[ music | Queen – Play The Game ]

Opera’s browser is now ad and cost free. This is an interesting development. They’re still selling premium support, but MoFo does that too, that’s fairly common. Under the header “Why we’re going free” they don’t actually say why. Under the header “What makes Opera’s web browser unique” they don’t list one unique feature. “Opera includes pop-up blocking, tabbed browsing, integrated searches, and advanced functions like Opera’s groundbreaking E-mail program, RSS Newsfeeds and IRC chat.” Netscape had an integrated email client a decade ago. I’d hardly call that groundbreaking. Mozilla and Firefox has everything else as well. So, nothing unique by any definition of the word.

Now, this is interesting because now the main non-technological difference between Firefox and Opera is the availability of the source code. Neither has ads, neither has a license fee, both have excellent rendering ability and standards compliance, both have features IE lacks, and both have rabidly fanatical communities around the products. Also this is interesting because from the consumer’s standpoint, the browsers can compete on a level playing field. Firefox always had the advantage of being both cost free and ad free, while Opera users had to chose to either pay, or live with ads. Now it’s a head to head competition on features and usability, to be judged by marketshare alone. Opera has put their money where their mouth is, literally. Let the competition begin.

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