Epilogue of the Opera

Opera Software is still able to surprise. Only if earlier they found a good reason for this (the introduction of useful functions and innovative technologies), now news from Norway is rather depressing. For example, on October 8, the developer announced the release of the next version of the browser at number 17. Having looked at the list of changes, many will be confused.

What's new?

What fresh will the user see?
So ... You can add your own search engines. Configure the launch of the program (whether to open the previous session or the home page). And finally, the tab locking function has returned. Scanty, isn't it? Moreover ... All this is far from innovation. The users simply returned the "stolen", so to speak, functions, because they mysteriously disappeared from version 15. As the company itself commented on this situation, this is due to the transition to a new core.

Similar, but completely different.

Partially about the situation of abandoning the Presto engine and switching to Blink (the same one that uses Google Chrome), I told in my article “Top 5 Changes in Opera 15”. As it turned out, it was too soft then described what was happening with the browser. I did not want to offend developers who were already in a difficult position. As it turns out, in vain. The work, if it is being conducted, is not too active, and in the official blog on Habr, you can only see indignant reviews . The official representatives of the company on the same resource at best try to convince that it is such a browser that users need. Unfortunately, they do not understand: they are not Steve Jobs.

Lost ...

The fact that pinning tabs is not the only function that was in the “coma” adds fuel to the fire. For example, information synchronization, alas, is still only in version 12. The list of familiar Opera features that need resuscitation is quite long. Thumbnails and page previews, scrolling tabs with the mouse wheel, grouping pages into stacks ... The list can go on for a very long time.
In addition, geeks could freely dig into Opera settings and tailor the program to their needs. Moreover, all this wealth was available in the application itself, and the most advanced climbed into the configuration files. Then the browser could completely change. Remember only Opera AC project. Enthusiasts fiddled with the distribution and added their functions to it. For example, I especially liked the ability to install software on removable media, which allowed me to always have my browser with me.
It is for such advanced customization options, innovative features that the Norwegian browser loved.

Already history

Just think! Most of the features in Internet browsers that seem natural and familiar to you are introduced specifically by developers from Norway. These are page tabs (before that, the browser each time opened a separate copy of the program), the quick launch bar, fixing (minimizing) tabs, compressing traffic, synchronizing favorites, and much, much more.
Opera Software influenced the World Wide Web as a whole. The modern Internet has become just that, in particular thanks to the ideas of developers from Norway. For example, in the HTML5 standard, it is possible to use video with built-in tools, without resorting to Flash. This determined the development of sites. In particular, YouTube, VKontakte, etc.
Norwegians have had an impact on the IT industry as a whole. Just remember how they competed with the giant Microsoft. They became one of the initiators of making it possible to remove Internet Explorer from Windows. Alas, this did not particularly affect the situation, but, nevertheless, a precedent was created.

New course

As soon as the news came about a radical change in the browser, I contacted one of the co-founders of the company, Jon von Tetchner. In 2010, he resigned as Executive Director at Opera Software. Now he is just an outside observer.

Jon von Tetchner (November 2009)

In general, he does not share leadership policies. The kernel of Presto, in his opinion, is one of the key advantages of the browser. It was not only powerful, but also very flexible in configuration, which made it possible to tailor the program to any needs. However, for a long time, it was the engine, according to the assurances of the current employees of the company, that caused a subsidence of productivity and affected the outflow of users. About the reasons why the previous core was simply outdated, Jon answered simply.

"The reason for dropping Presto was indeed funding. The current management did not want to do the necessary investments to ensure that Presto stays ahead of the game. "The interest has been more in mobile ads and the operator business and in fact Opera has invested heavily there, buying multiple companies at serious premiums."
Jon von Tetchner - co-founder of Opera Software

By the way, please note that at the beginning of the year the company reduced its staff by almost 10% . The official position of Opera Software is that the transition to a new kernel has reduced the number of developers. However, there is an opinion that everything happened just the opposite. In particular, this confirms Jon's comment above.
What will be next? Yon answered somewhat vaguely.

“I do not know if killing Presto means killing Opera. I think it was wrong to do, though, and I think Opera would have had more users if the company had continued to invest in its products. I also think that the current product direction is wrong, independent of kernel. We built a great product, focusing on the user, with really useful features. Now that has changed. "
Jon von Tetchner - co-founder of Opera Software

The co-founder of the company, like any parent, in all likelihood simply does not want to recognize a simple fact: it has not just changed, but is on the verge.

Few numbers

Numerous studies show that Opera's share in the world is declining. For example, StatCounter says that this figure fell from 2.62% in 2009 to 1.69% in 2012.

StatCounter. World browser market statistics

By the way, it’s not just that I mentioned Russian users. In the countries of the former Union, the Norwegian browser was especially popular. Alas, the statistics in this case are completely eloquent: from 36.57% (2009) to 19.82% (2012) according to the studies of the same StatCounter.
Data may vary slightly from one researcher to another. It all depends on the methods of collecting data and evaluating the information received. However, everyone records a drop in interest in Opera.

StatCounter. Browser Market in Russia (2009-2012)

The last three months of this year have not shown any changes - the presence of the browser is still declining. In Russia, so far about 12%, and a little over one hundredth in the whole world.


Another indicator that clearly speaks of ailments or good health of the company is the value of shares. Given the trends outlined above, he intended to see a sad picture. Having opened the graphs, he fell into a stupor from cognitive dissonance. Now the value of Opera Software's securities is higher than ever and has reached record levels, if not for all the time it has been on the market, then for 5 years for sure.

Stock prices have reached their record

I'm afraid to draw definite conclusions. I will only express my modest and very cautious opinion.
Last year, news feeds filled with messages that the social network Facebook is going to acquire a Norwegian office. This promises shareholders good profits and securities began to actively buy, which caused a sharp jump in value. Further, the snowball, which gained speed, was difficult to stop. Now information about the acquisition of Opera Software is no longer slipping, but the market has already reacted. Hopes and waits. Things at the company go very badly.
Is the unjustified increase in stock prices good for the Norwegians? I think no. After all, the value of shares should be supported by some real indicators and achievements. Anyway, any currency needs to be supported by gold. There is a possibility that the current state of affairs will still come sideways.


The company, which has long been a trendsetter in browser engineering, is now lagging behind and trying not to even catch up with its competitors, but to return what it has lost. I would like to say that this happened with the release of Opera's 15th revision. However, it is not. The process began a long time ago.
The Internet, like the entire IT industry, has changed significantly over 15 years. Over the years, there are no companies left that specialize only in browsers. Microsoft is behind Internet Explorer, Chrome has nurtured the giant Google. Only mastodons can afford to develop programs for accessing the Global Web today, and then as an optional lesson. For example, Yandex did it by releasing its browser a year ago. Firefox stands apart, but there, one should not forget, a huge army of open source enthusiasts and many other programs are made on the basis of “елhelis”.


For many years, the Opera browser has been my faithful assistant for long trips through the boundless expanses of the World Wide Web. Sometimes it even went unnoticed by some of its dubious functions, which wasted the labor of developers. For example, Unite. The idea of ​​a cloud service could turn out to be quite by the time in 2010, but they realized it too crookedly. However, then he did not focus on this, hoping that they would bring it to mind.
Now much has changed ...
By the way, with the release of Opera 15, Yandex even decided to try Yandex.Browser. Several months passed before I noticed that I had finally switched to using a domestic Internet browser.

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