Page Two

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-06-01 Print this article Print

I know you guys have done a lot of work moving into the mobile area in the last few years. Moving forward, where do you see yourselves devoting your time? How do you see it splitting between the desktop browser versus the mobile browser? Its one thing. Thats the beauty of what we do. We make one product, and we tailor it to everything around. So its one source code on the desktop and on the mobile. Obviously, we have to do some tailoring in the user interface or user experience, and that requires teams, which we have both for the desktop and the mobile. But in a sense, the core of the product is the same.
The same rendering engine?
Yes. … That is unique. As a company, how does that help you? Does it cut back on development or let you make better use of those development resources? This means that we didnt have to start again. We can continue with a code base that is now 10 years old, 10 years old in April. … Theres a lot of knowledge that goes into that and a lot of reiteration. Just to start on the desktop side, we had talked before about [Opera] 7.50 and the syncing up of the platforms [that] you did. Another area you focused on seemed to be beefing up some of the additional applications—e-mail and adding chat. What I found interesting is if we look at some of the other browsers out there, Mozilla is breaking out their suite into a distinct browser. Why are you looking to add in fuller functionality on top of the browser? Is that the direction [in which] youre trying to go? As a company were the only ones ... doing revenue on this, in a way. That means we have to listen to users and listen to customers and give them what they want. We have to differentiate. People have to have a reason to use Opera. Speed is an important issue, and a lot of people tend to use Opera because of the speed. Speed is not the only selling point. We cant have one selling point. …Were trying to differentiate in innovating and in doing new features. To a certain extent it was "back to basics" that the other browsers have been doing. You had the old Mosaic browser that was very simple, and Netscape to a certain extent and then IE. … Nothing much interesting has happened with those applications. I may be going a bit overboard, but thats my opinion. Theres not been an awful lot of innovation there. I guess tabbed browsing is about the biggest feature? We had multiple windows from day one. We werent necessarily the first one to have a tab. We might have been, or we might not have been. There are a lot of things weve done first. "Sessions" is definitely one thing we were first to do, and some of the others have been picking up. What are "sessions"? Basically, youre having multiple windows [open], you exit the program, you start again and you start with multiple windows. Thats the default way to use Opera. And obviously that means you will have windows inside windows and not just one. … With this back to basics thing, which I guess Apple started with Safari and then my feeling is that Mozilla kind of copied that, we think removing functionality is not the way. … We may well offer a skin of Opera in the future that would be just a skin that is simpler. At the same, what were trying to do is differentiate in providing features that are outside the scope of normal browsing. We think theres a lot of innovation left in browsing, and we think we are to some extent proving that in what we are doing. And again, its being picked up. … You mentioned before everything from pop-up blocking to more importantly, mouse gestures, people shortcuts, sessions. … Theres more and more were doing, and some of this is being picked up by the competition. And if its being picked up by the competition, then I guess were doing something right. Next page: Voice and voice recognition.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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