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.
Thread beginning with comment 33969
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: money?
by abdavidson on Tue 20th Sep 2005 13:12 UTC in reply to "money?"
abdavidson
Member since:
2005-07-06

"So, um, how are Opera planning to make enough money as a company to survive now?"

Something like a third to a quarter of their income comes currently from the desktop licences.

There are two avenues they see as replacement for this (ignoring that they are ever increasing their mobile licence and engine licencing revenues and starting to build up their Slipstream service and I guess income):

1. Significantly more people get it, a percentage get the premium support. These probably will close to balance out.

2. Google searches through the browser bring in some income. More people using the browser, means more income.

Can't remember who, but saw one Opera employee say they actually expect to increase their revenue with this release.

Reply Parent Score: 1

"Premium support"
by on Tue 20th Sep 2005 22:35 in reply to "RE: money?"
Member since:

"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 http://reports.finance.yahoo.com/w0?r=34905203:1 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.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE: "Premium support"
by abdavidson on Wed 21st Sep 2005 00:06 in reply to ""Premium support""
abdavidson Member since:
2005-07-06

"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?"

Are you kidding?

Presto - the heart of Opera - is licenced by an increasing number of third party vendors.

Also, the browser itself (remember the codebase in it's entirely is largely portable) is used for mobile browsing.

Opera still has commercial imperatives behind their development. This is one reason why it would make absolutely no sense to make it open source and allow the hackers in to play. You'd lose the cohesion that you get from a bunch of people whose livelihoods depend on this being a saleable product and who have pride in the work they are doing and have done for years.

"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."

Ignoring your inference that somehow Mozilla has failed (wha...?) the difference is that those were one-trick ponies. It was the one thing they did and it was given away. Opera has many other avenues of gaining revenue from the product they are giving away in one sphere, plus they have at least one related product that is making them money spun off from it (Slipstream).

"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"

Trying to say that Sun giving away Java is the cause of that investor rating is *really* pushing it. Not even going to argue that point because it's so vapid.

"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."

Why? It will increase their exposure in the desktop market, more people will hear of them, more will be interested in buying without the "it costs you money" FUD that has been routinely spread about. That means more people will use it, which means that when it comes to other platforms like mobile/cell phones, there will be that followon brand recognition there too.

And completely removed from this there are those licensing the engine for their own embedded purposes. Presto is still the best balance of smallest, fastest, portable and complete renderer out there.

Throw in the increased use of the searches from a larger amount of users and the base cost of losing 1-3% of users who paid is being at least partially offset just by the fact that it WILL have an increased amount of users.

Lets not forget one last thing. Goodwill from users. It isn't unheard of for users who enjoy the product enough to pay for it even when they don't have to (as a result of the birthday thing last month this happened). I'm sure buying the premium support for a smaller amount of money will also happen on this basis to some extent too; again ignoring those who pay for it to actually GET that support.

Reply Parent Score: 2