My Opera Rant

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Oh, Opera… You are the browser that standardized tabbed browsing, new tab pages, browser synching, and so many more innovative features. You are one of the fastest and most standards-compliant browsers. You are the browser that pushes development of other browsers forward. Yet you can barely break 2% market adoption. Why is that? Why, for a browser first launched 8 years before Firefox and only one year after Internet Explorer?

Opera, you don’t need to sue Microsoft to gain market share. Firefox, a browser just 6 years old, has reached 20+%. Chrome, which is less than two years old, is pushing on 6%. You might say, “But Google has funds for marketing!” But what about Mozilla? Firefox is the second largest browser, and it is made and managed by a company a third of the size of Opera Software.

Opera, your desktop business model doesn’t work. If you need the EU to force users into changing browsers so you can gain market share, you’re doing it wrong. You need to expand your user base not only by creating great new features, which you do all the time, but also by advertising them. Your main weakness, Opera, is that nobody knows about you.

On its launch day, Firefox posted a full-page ad in the New York Times. Both Chrome and Firefox have launched TV and viral ad campaigns like Spread Firefox and Firefox Flicks. Google has advertised Chrome in its most prominent products like YouTube.

Firefox arrived at a time when everybody was starting to get sick of IE. You never took advantage of that. Chrome arrived at a time when everybody was starting to get sick of Firefox. You didn’t take advantage of that either. Yet, when the EU says that Microsoft has to do advertising for you, you quickly whip up a shiny new version and thank the EU for tripling your downloads.

I’m disappointed, Opera, that such a good browser has such a little market share because you refuse to do real advertising. Let’s hope this new surge is market share the browser ballot might bring will change the way you look at the market and your users.

  • siedrix

    Opera has a positioning problem; I simple can’t get it into my mind. Not long ago I downloaded Opera 10.5, when I read that it had a JavaScript engine faster than Chromes V8's, after a little while y simple stop remembering that I had it install.
    Before that I tested Opera Live that allows me to make my browser an html, download and notes server with some other features. I tested the widgets, one that allow you to turn Opera into something quite similar to Mozilla's Flock.

    I stop testing it after a week, mainly because the server didn’t have anything else but JavaScript server side and there has any tutorial on how to make it run. There they lose a good opportunity to turn me as a customer a simple plug in that would allow me to use PHP as back end would have made me a costumer for a long time; or at least a good tutorial on who to set up JavaScript server side.

    Every day I read a post or 2 about CSS made with some –web-kit-something-fancy or –moz-something-buzzy but I never read about a –opera-stuff. It’s incredible that IE6 has more users… http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stat… …

    I don’t know exactly what Opera needs to do, but isn’t in the developer side, it’s in the user experience, social, mouth-to-mouth side…

  • Pingback: My Opera Rant « Juliana Peña | Chrome OS Blog()

  • Another serious problem is that it doesn't support extensions; Firefox led the way and Chrome is following and, soon, I predict that all browsers will either have to support them or fail.

    Without extensions, support for useful tools such as ReadItLater and LastPass is awkward, using Javascript bookmarklets which are far harder to set up than an extension and don't do as much – for example, they cannot communicate with the parent application and the password database has to be exported to them in an encrypted form.

    Even worse, native password support is via a closed database (Wand) which I am suspicious of precisely because it is closed …

  • Kapsi

    About Firefox: Google promoted Firefox (on its own pages like Youtube) and pumped hundreds of millions dollars into it, until they released Chrome. Opera not only never had help but is actually discriminated by Google (for example the search engine blocks some functions based on browser identification).