Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 12th Jun 2009 13:55 UTC
Internet Explorer Yesterday, Microsoft dropped a bomb by announcing that all versions of Windows 7 released in Europe would ship without Internet Explorer pre-installed. This was in answer to the EU antitrust investigation currently under way regarding possible illegal bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows. The first reactions to this news are coming in, with Opera and the EU both lamenting the move.
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I find it very difficult to take Opera seriously. Opera may claim that they are being held back by the bundling of IE, but that claim is simply not supported by the current state of the browser market. Firefox' popularity is through the roof, with the Free/free browser from Mozilla touching the 40% market share figures in many European countries. In addition, Chrome has become quite popular in a short period of time, more popular than Opera, in fact (of course, usual warnings for statistics, etc. etc.).

I think as much of the issue is that most users haven't heard of Opera.

Firefox, wasn't a total unknown when it was released as users of Netscape would have heard of Mozilla. Plus Firefox reached that critical mass where enough people knew about it to tell enough other people about it (thus the user base snow balls).

Chrome, had quite a public launch. It was talked about on news sites that wouldn't normally delve that deeply into geek technology. (I imagine this was largely to it being a Google product).

Safari, is the OS X default as well as being Apple (aka "the coolest company on earth") product - so it's no surprise that it has a measurable install base.

Opera, however, isn't backed by a huge super cool mega-company. It's not so popular that novices and non-geeks would have seen their fellow non-geek mates using it. It's not had a hugely publicized launch. It's just there, lurking in the back ground somewhere and largely unheard of by the majority of computer users.

Now I'm not going to say that Opera is better than the above and/or IE (though it is my browser of choice). But it's rendering speed and accuracy is competitive (as proved in benchmarks), it's use of resources is competitive and it's feature list is ahead of of the market.

So clearly Opera's not a bad browser.

This leads me to believe that the significantly smaller market share isn't primarily down to the browser itself but a combination of emotional preferences based on Opera's default appearance (skins / toolbar layout) and a lack of publicity / visibility.

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