- Some of the information in this article may be outdated.
Opera Software started as a Norwegian company, but it is now a Chinese corporation. It is primarily known for its desktop web browser and family of mobile web browsers. Opera Mini was for some time the most popular mobile web browser in the world. This was in part due to the dramatic increase in mobile browsing due to the iPhone. Opera Software is also involved in promoting Web standards through participation in the W3C. The original company had its headquarters in Oslo, Norway, although it is now in China. Is was listed on Oslo Stock Exchange, and also had offices in Sweden, China, India, Japan, Korea, Poland, Czech Republic and the USA.
Opera's stated vision is "to deliver the best Internet experience on any device."
In 2017, Opera Software reported that they now serve over 350 million users worldwide. The browser handles common Internet-related tasks such as displaying web sites, sending and receiving e-mail messages, managing contacts, conversing on IRC, downloading files via Torrent, and reading web feeds. It is free for personal computers and mobile phones.
- Clean, functional interface
- Very customization
- With enough system resources, loads pages and content quickly
- supports many extensions
- Requires more system resources (especially RAM) than many other browsers.
- No longer uses the unique Presto engine, meaning this now functions similarly to other Chromium browsers.
Opera Software was founded as an independent company on August 30, 1995 by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy. 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.
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. Opera 4.0, released in 2000, included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and Platform (computing)|platforms.
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. 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 — 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).
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.
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. However, Opera does continue to charge for its "Opera Mobile" product which runs on many Mobile devices.
In 2016, The Opera browser, name, and numerous other assets were purchased by a Qihoo 360-led consortium of Chinese companies. The original Norwegian company will keep a few parts of the company, including Opera Apps & Games and Opera TV, but was required to change its name.
From its beginning, Opera used its proprietary Presto engine. However, in 2013 Opera switched to Google's new Blink engine. Some accepted this change happily, others refused to update from version 12.16 (the last Presto engine edition), while others began using the new Vivaldi browser, which was more recently created by the original designers of Opera.
- 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, 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.
- About Opera. Opera Software. Retrieved on 2007-10-11.
- Opera Software - Milestones
- Affiliated Organization of Firefox and Mozilla. Mozilla Japan (2006). Retrieved on 2007-10-24.
- Schenk, Mark (2007-01-06). Opera browser version history. Retrieved on 2007-10-24.
- Lettice, John. "Opera browser goes free with version 5.0 launch", The Register, 2000-12-06. Retrieved on 2007-10-11.
- Students surf safely with Opera: Opera site license free for educational institutions, January 12, 2005, retrieved on October 25, 2005
- Baker, Loren. "Opera Goes Free with Help from Google", Search Engine Journal, 2005-09-20. Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
- Have WAP but want WEB? Introducing Opera Mini for mobile phones, URL accessed on 20 April 2006
- Feel Free: Opera Eliminates Ad Banner and Licensing Fee
- Buy Opera
- 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.
- Oates, John (2004-05-18). Opera settles legal claims. The Register. Retrieved on 2007-12-15.
- Microsoft behind $12 million payment to Opera, URL access on 20 April 2006.
- 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.