You could have gotten a free copy of Opera on their 10th birthday already. But if you’ve missed that opportunity there’s some great news from Norway. Opera announced today it will be offering Opera for free! No more ad-banners and licensing fees. They will only charge you money for Premium Support.
“Today we invite the entire Internet community to use Opera and experience Web browsing as it should be,” said Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Removing the ad banner and licensing fee will encourage many new users to discover the speed, security and unmatched usability of the Opera browser.”
Cutting through the marketing bull: its free now and it’s marketshare will probably rise as it is another good alternative to Internet Explorer. Which is rapidly becoming archaic. I encourage people to at least try it once (or take a look at firefox ;-)).
So how will they make money from a free browser now the ads are gone?
Well, Opera also builds browsers for mobile applications like PDA’s and phones. Those aren’t free. Licensing fees and paying for Premium Support will probably fund the development of the free version.
To at least be competitive in the browser market they eventually had to be on the same price level as IE and Firefox. Which is exactly, for free.
How does Opera compare to IE and/or Firefox?
Why don’t you take a look for yourself. I never liked the old Opera versions because the UI was terribly cluttered. But I must say that the new 8.x versions are a sight for sore eyes. Mind you, under the hood it still sports an e-mail-, news-, rss- and bittorrent-client (and what not?).
(Thanx Webdrain for the tip)