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.