Opera Knew Best All Along

Aug 12, 2008
Updated • Dec 2, 2012

This report by Mashables’ Paul Glazowski caught my attention whilst reading my feeds the other day. It’s called, ’Opera Mini’s Continued Success Rests on Smart Product Placement’ and describes the current success of Opera with their mini browser:

“It’s not a perfect, or even moderately good analogy, but I find myself thinking of Opera Mini as a tortoise to Safari Mobile’s hare. The latter is downright suave and spiffy and all that. Opera’s mobile browser, on the other hand, is moving steadily into relative ubiquity. Its rise seems deceptively understated, too.”

It’s easy to look at Opera in the browser market and see them struggling to compete with Mozilla Firefox, even though it has been responsible for so much innovation over the last decade.

You couldn’t help wondering, why wasn’t Opera doing more? What’s going on?

Well, it turns out Opera was one step in front, just as it always has been. This time though, they may be able to turn this into actual success.

Opera may have failed to make huge progress against Firefox, Internet Explorer and even Safari, but it has been making huge progress with what may end up being even more important – the mobile browser market.

Opera has huge influence in the mobile browsing industry, Glozowski gives some examples:

“The list of agreements Opera now holds with various mobile manufacturers and network operators is pretty extensive. I won’t treat you to the unabridged rundown, but suffice it to say that many, many millions (add another few manys in for good measure) of mobile phone users are being treated automatically to Opera Mini installs upon purchase of new devices. That, or the next gadget on their wishlist is sporting the software. Just this week the company announced a deal with O2 to increase its market share even further. It also has parties like Micromax, Swisscom, Debitel, Haier, and Ten by Orange in its repertoire. The number of mobile users that have downloaded the Mini browser by their own volition counts strong as well.”

That list should also include Sony, Nintendo with the Wii, Motorola, Samsung and UIQ. In fact estimates put Opera Mini usage at 50% of all mobile browsing, a near-Microsoft dominance of the market. It will face some competition from the Safari, but only on terms of features and performance as Opera is designed to run on almost every mobile phone available.

The irony of the whole situation is that Mozilla has effectively let the mobile browser market slip them by, although now they have stated their aim is to “redefine the mobile browsing experience” although their current progress at this point has involved trashing Opera:

“Q: Did Opera get a headstart in this area? They are on phones and the Nintendo Wii?
A: I’m not sure I care about the Wii as a platform. People were critical of us last year, saying Opera has sewn it all up. But they won the last market. They have three times as many people as us. You have Opera browsers on the phone, but who uses it?”

It will be interesting to see how this pans out, will Mozilla create a decent Opera competitor? What can it do about the impressive head start Opera has across the industry?


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Joshua said on August 13, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I understand Opera used to be a lot more frustrating a few years ago, however I’ve only begun using it a little as of version 9, and really only a lot from version 9.5. I have pretty much never had a single problem with any pages so far.

  2. Rarst said on August 13, 2008 at 6:29 am

    >I’ll switch back to opera, once gmail works again.

    I think you don’t need browser, you need email program. :) I so don’t understand people that struggle with web email interfaces when Opera has excellent integrated email client. Not even mentioning amount of good stand-alone ones.

    >too bad that you cannot install opera mini on most samsungs devices

    Opera mini site lists install instructions for eighty Samsung phone models… Those are only those instructions are present for.

  3. brain said on August 12, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    too bad that you cannot install opera mini on most samsungs devices…

  4. tom said on August 12, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    After 5 years I just ditched opera! I’ll switch back to opera, once gmail works again. I HATE the opera developers excuse of “poorly coded pages” every time it fails. IMO opera should stick to the mobile platform

  5. darkkosmos said on August 12, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Well rast they have some sort of prototype going, anyway Opera will probably catch up once they have their plugin system figured out. I would gladly switch to opera then ;)

  6. Rarst said on August 12, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    They are so not winning this fight. :)

    It’s not about headstart. While Mozilla were obsessed with numbers (it’s their business model after all) Opera was steadily building technology that can scale and deliver same experience on any hardware. Which is their business model.

    Anyway lets talk about this when Mozilla will have actuall product for mobile browsing to show. Which is when exactly?.. :)

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.