Opera Software

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Opera Software is a Norwegian corporation, primarily known for its Opera (desktop web browser) and Opera family of mobile web browsers. Opera Mini is currently the most popular mobile web browser in the world. Opera Software is also involved in promoting Web standards through participation in the World Wide Web Consortium|W3C. The company has its headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange. The company also has offices in Sweden, People's Republic of China|China, India, Japan, South Korea|Korea, Poland, Czech Republic and the United States|USA.

Opera's stated vision is "to deliver the best Internet experience on any device."[1]

Contents

History

Opera Software was founded as an independent company on August 30 1995 by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy.[2] The company was created to continue what was originally a research project at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecommunications company.

Opera Software's first product, the Opera (web browser)|Opera web browser version 2.1 for Microsoft Windows|Windows, was released in 1997. Opera Software had an Initial public offering (IPO) in February 2004, and was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange March 11 2004.[2]

In an attempt to capitalize on the emerging market for Internet-connected handheld devices, a project to port the Opera browser to more platforms was started in 1998.[2] Opera 4.0, released in 2000,[3] included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and Platform (computing)|platforms.[4]

Up to this point, the Opera browser was trialware and had to be purchased after the trial period ended. But version 5.0 (released in 2000) saw the end of the trial period requirement. Instead, Opera became Adware|ad-sponsored, displaying advertisements to users without a license.[5] Users could still buy licenses for several years, however. Later versions of Opera gave the user the choice of seeing banner ads or targeted text advertisements from Google.

On January 12, 2005, Opera Software announced that it would offer free licenses to higher education institutions[6] — a change from the previous cost of $1,000 USD for unlimited licenses. Schools that opted for the free license included Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, University of Oxford, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Duke University. Opera was commonly criticized for having been Adware|ad-sponsored, since this was seen as a barrier to gaining market share. In the newer versions the user was allowed a choice of generic graphical banners, or text-based targeted advertisements provided by Google based upon the page being viewed. Users could pay a license fee to remove the advertisement bar.

With version 8.5 (released in 2005) the advertisements were removed entirely and primary financial support came through revenue from Google (which is by contract Opera's default search engine).[7]

The introduction in August 2005 of "Opera Mini", a Java ME based web browser for mobile phones marketed not to end users but to mobile network operators, possibly marks a new direction towards directly revenue-generating business, making the company less dependent on give-away and advertising-based Internet software.[8]

On September 20 2005, Opera announced that it would remove the advertising from its browser and remain free of charge. Although Opera was free to download and use before this change, it had previously displayed an advertising banner unless the user purchased a license. The move was made in the hope that it would prompt more users to switch to the Opera browser.[9] However, Opera does continue to charge for its "Opera Mobile" product which runs on many Mobile devices.[10]

Legal issues

On May 18, 2004, Opera Software settled a lawsuit. Their statement on the Oslo Stock Exchange read:[11][12]

Opera Software ASA has settled legal claims with an international corporation resulting in payment to Opera of net USD 12.75 million. The other party is not a customer of Opera and the settlement does not negatively impact future revenues. The entire amount will be booked in Q2.
Details are confidential pursuant to the settlement agreement.

It is widely theorized that the 'international corporation' named above is Microsoft,[13] who had previously blocked Opera users from correctly viewing MSN.com.

In 2007 Opera filed a complaint against Microsoft in the European Commission, alleging that bundling Internet Explorer with Microsoft Windows is harmful to both the consumer and to other web browser companies.[14]

References

  1. About Opera. Opera Software. Retrieved on 2007-10-11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Opera Software - Milestones
  3. Affiliated Organization of Firefox and Mozilla. Mozilla Japan (2006). Retrieved on 2007-10-24.
  4. Schenk, Mark (2007-01-06). Opera browser version history. Retrieved on 2007-10-24.
  5. Lettice, John. "Opera browser goes free with version 5.0 launch", The Register, 2000-12-06. Retrieved on 2007-10-11. 
  6. Students surf safely with Opera: Opera site license free for educational institutions, January 12, 2005, retrieved on October 25, 2005
  7. Baker, Loren. "Opera Goes Free with Help from Google", Search Engine Journal, 2005-09-20. Retrieved on 2007-10-12. 
  8. Have WAP but want WEB? Introducing Opera Mini for mobile phones, URL accessed on 20 April, 2006
  9. Feel Free: Opera Eliminates Ad Banner and Licensing Fee
  10. Buy Opera
  11. Settlement Of Legal Claims. Stock Exchange Announcements. Opera Software (May 18, 2004). Archived from the original on 2006-10-19. Retrieved on 2007-12-15.
  12. Oates, John (2004-05-18). Opera settles legal claims. The Register. Retrieved on 2007-12-15.
  13. Microsoft behind $12 million payment to Opera, URL access on 20 April, 2006.
  14. Dignan, Larry. "Opera files complaint against Microsoft in the EU over IE, Windows bundle; CTO makes Web standards case", ZDNet, 2007-12-13. Retrieved on 2007-12-15. 

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