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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RE: "Premium support"
by abdavidson on Wed 21st Sep 2005 00:06 UTC 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

RE[2]: "Premium support"
by on Wed 21st Sep 2005 10:11 in reply to "RE: "Premium support""
Member since:

Ignoring your inference that somehow Mozilla has failed (wha...?)

You seem confused as to my assertion that Mozilla has failed. I ask you: What financial or strategic benefit has it brought to AOL, which purchased Netscape and then decided to create the Mozilla Foundation? The original intent was to harness the "goodwill" of the development community and use its creative powers to help beat Internet Explorer. It did not succeed in doing this, and brought AOL no financial reward, and hasn't helped AOL's present or future strategy.

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

Except that you are wrong. Before it was purchased by AOL, Netscape was also in the business of selling Netscape Internet server applications to commercial businesses. Giving away the browser as a beta-for-free (while charging the customers for retail full-versions) was supposed to create the groundswell market for Netscape's server software business...similar to what Opera is trying to do. It's deja vu all over again. The goodwill of giving away the product, the high profile of Marc Andreessen, the nearly synonymous association of the Netscape Browser with the World Wide Web (leading many to think that Andreessen had invented the WWW!!), and its public perception as the browser innovators didn't help increase Netscape's server applications sales.

When AOL bought Netscape, AOL's main revenue stream was (and is) from its ISP services. The purchase of Netscape was supposed to wean AOL from IE, and again provide the goodwill from customers to build loyalty to AOL. Didn't work. AOL shut down its Netscape division two years ago and is trying to battle in the broadband market, its customer base having defected to other broadband ISP's that don't give away browsers.

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.

I do not claim that Sun has an investor rating of "F" solely because they simply give Java away for free. The problem is that giving Java away was (among other things) supposed to create a customer base that would encourage people to buy Sun hardware and server software. Ten years later, is Sun really better off due to this strategy? Did Sun generate enough goodwill in the software community so that more Sun product solutions are purchased than the competition's? Apparently not; thus, it's one of the contributing factors to the "F" rating.

Opera is committing the same mistakes that Sun and Netscape did. Opera's stock price may have rallied today, but it could simply be the dynamic of "the greater fool", i.e. an investor bubble that relies on savvy investors preying on the gambling mentality of the overly-optimistic naive investors.

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).

If you rely on goodwill for your business model, you will soon have to buy your clothes from Goodwill (see http://www.goodwill.org/page/guest/about/howweoperate/shop).

Reply Parent Score: 1