Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Opera VS. Firefox, round 1: Free Opera

Opera, a web browser, has decided to make its program full featured and ad-free. Before, you could get the full version of Opera for free, but with ads.

On their website, Opera is vague about why they made the browser ad-free. "Opera's growth, due to tremendous worldwide customer support, has made today's milestone an achievable goal. " Says the site. This may be the case, but I feel there is a bigger reason why Opera made the program ad-free:

They want to compete with Firefox.

Mozilla's Firefox browser is based off of the MoZilla Browser, but without all the frills of the entire system. Currently, it holds the most-widely used browser (With the exception of Internet Explorer, which eats up approxamately 80% of the market.) Naturally, Opera wants some action too, but nobody would use a browser with ads in it. So, the only reasonable thing to do is to make it free.

The last time I used Opera was in 2002. What I recall was a very clunky browser with sometimes confusing configurations. I remember going back to I.E a few months later, and then switching to Mozilla in December. I joined up with Firefox in 2003. Opera will need to fix the clunks in the system, if they have not done so already. I don't think people will enjoy downloading the Opera browser, only to realize they needed the one with JRE support.

This was a good decision on Opera's part. Most people usually don't pay for premium versions of anything, unless software restrictions mandate it. This will get Opera a big piece of the browser E-pie, but whether or not it presents a threat to Firefox remains to be seen.

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