Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 20th Sep 2005 11:59 UTC, submitted by jasnils
Opera Software "Opera Software today permanently removed the ad banner and licensing fee from its award-winning Web browser. The ad-free, full-featured Opera browser is now available for download, completely free of charge, here." This news got submitted a staggering 14 times, and as far as I know, that's a record.
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"Premium support"
by Anonymous on Tue 20th Sep 2005 22:35 UTC in reply to "RE: money?"
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"1. Significantly more people get it, a percentage get the premium support. These probably will close to balance out. "

But does this mean that Opera has an incentive to write buggier code to make people want the premium support? Or degrade the quality of free support?

When a company changes tactics and starts giving away its flagship product for literally free with no strings attached, it's a possible symptom that something isn't going right inside the company. It's a possible sign of desperation.

For example, Netscape used to give its beta-versions of its browsers for free, and now Netscape is gone. Then AOL decided to open up the source code, and the result is that Mozilla has never reached version a 2.0. Then the source fragmened into Firefox which is still at version 1.0, leaving a fragmented and confused user base. Is Mozilla 1.7.x still supported? Are security patches being updated? Is the Netscape browser still alive? In any event, Microsoft IE still hovers at around 90% (and IE isn't Microsoft's flagship product).

Sun gives away Java for completely free -- the compiler, the specification, sometimes even the source code. The way Java has been marketed by Sun over the past decade, you would have thought it's one of Sun's flagship products. The result? Currently Sun Microsystems has an overall investor rating of F (the lowest value); see for more details.

Opera's share of the browser market is very very very tiny after so many years. Thinking that this will increase their revenue seems to be wishful thinking.

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