Page Two

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

Talking about where the browser industry has gone, what do you find today as still the biggest hurdle in getting people to try Opera, especially on the desktop side? Basically, we need to get the information out. The fact is that people are getting IE typically with their machine. They have to be told that there are alternatives. We believe that if they do find Opera, a lot of them will find Opera to be a better tool, especially if they give it some time. For some people, it just clicks. For other people, they do require a little bit of a learning curve. Opera is kind of different. Were not trying to do the same as everyone else. … Things like fast forward and rewind, these are not usual functions in the other browsers.
One stumbling block I seem to notice a lot in people trying to use alternative browsers is that even when they do, there are Web applications that often force them back to IE. … How much of an issue is this, Web applications being written with IE-specific code?
Most companies are starting to be professional enough not to do this. But its still an issue. Typically, like you say, some applications might make shortcuts and make use of ActiveX. My impression is that ActiveX is not used that much. In general, there are other ways to do things, and this is where were trying to make it even easier to use other ways. Secondly, there is going to be this big change … even Bill Gates knows this. He said in 2000, that in 2002 there would be more non-PC devices connecting to the Net than PC devices. He was wrong about the date. Hes right about whats going to happen. The fact is that which operating system these devices will be running we dont know. Most likely it wont be Windows, and most certainly it wont be the Windows that we know from the desktop. And most certainly that also means that if its a Microsoft operating system, it will be running an IE version that is different from the desktop. But is there any way youre trying to change that paradigm among designers? Were trying to inform people in a positive way. Were also telling them they can save a lot of time and energy. Now all the browsers in the mainstream currently have at least some CSS support. … IE is probably the one that is most lacking at the time, but even if you use IE at the lowest ground, if you then utilize the standards you can make very powerful pages and these pages will most likely, if you think about it and do it right, also be able to work on mobile screens. … They have choices in a way. Either they deal with this now or deal with this later. Either they can go with the WAP way, which most people dont want to do, or they can code once and have it look beautifully across the board using Web standards, and its future proof. A lot of large organizations and professional people are starting to do this. Where are you market-share-wise on the mobile side of things? It depends on how you define the market. You can talk about three groups of browsers. You have WAP browsers; you have iMode, which they are using in Japan; and then you have full Web browsers. If you look at full Web browsers on mobile phones, we are probably the biggest. If you consider everything, then we are tiny in market share. But in the world that … we believe is coming, [where] you get the full Internet and nothing less, then we have a lead in the market. We aim to keep that by providing the best possible technology. Anything else about where you see Opera going given that youve beefed up your capital side of the business? What this means is that well work even harder. Well hire even more people. … About 50 percent of our people are from other regions, and theyre not coming here normally for the weather. … Youll be seeing Opera on more devices, and well have even more rapid development on the desktop side. You guys dont have any U.S. office at this point? We have some representatives in the U.S. but not much of a formal office. Do you see that in the future? We are expanding, so that may well happen. Were also expanding in the East, in Japan and China. … In a way the U.S. market is the market we want to be [in]. The U.S. is a very important market, its a huge market and we dont see ourselves succeeding without the U.S. market. Its part of our strategy to be very visible here, and we will increase our visibility in any way we can. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions. Be sure to add our enterprise applications news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

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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