6 Reasons why Opera Failed

By | March 16, 2009 | 59 Comments


First of all: yes, according to Opera’s financial results, Opera Desktop is growing. However, its first initial release was 12-13 years ago. Yet, they are still struggling to gain a solid part of the market share (according to HitsLink (yes, they are not accurate)) and are being ignored.

So why did that happened?

1. Opera Software is against software patents. With dozens of innovations (see this post for more details), their current situations would be much better than it is now.

2. Releasing final versions too fast. Remember Opera 9.5 Final release (2 days after RC)? 9.0… If you believe that it doesn’t make a huge impact, because they are fixing all those issues within first week(s), then think about this: what if a new user decides to download Opera x.0 Final? Not much, he just gets annoyed by all those bugs, uninstalls it and probably won’t try it again for a next few months/years.

3. Not listening to the community. Features like auto update, spell check were requested 3-4 years ago… Yet, only Opera 10 will include them.

4. Poor promotion of Opera Desktop. Opera.com home page promotes/used to promote Opera Mini. Most of the “viral videos” (Opera Mini vs. iPhone for instance) were created to promote different products. Same with the other campaigns.
“But Opera doesn’t have unlimited $ like Firefox, Google or Safari to promote its browser”. A perfect example of this: Firefox download day, Firefox community contests, etc. (and people wonder why Firefox is so popular).

Remember when Opera used to have (maybe still do), those affiliate links for every my.opera.com user? I spoke with a guy from Opera Software about that affiliate system upgrade and it was said to me that they are working on that and should be release soon. That was like 2 years ago…

5. Poor GUI. It might not be hard for advanced users to understand all the functions of Opera Desktop. However, novice users having a hard time to do that.

6. Incompatibility. Opera used to not work well with lots of popular web sites. Not much you can do here, not really only Opera’s fault.

It should be also noted that some of the points are already being fixed. For example: GUI and incompatibility issues.

So here you have it. 6 reasons on why Opera Desktop is failing to succeed.

[digg-reddit-me]


About (Author Profile)


Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • http://nocontinues.net/ Tiago Sá

    It should also be noted that both gecko (Firefox and such) and webkit (safari and chrome) based browsers support rudimentary forms of css3 specifications, and probably other stuff too. Opera doesn’t support anything like that, to my knowledge… Whether it’s because they are simply waiting for the final specification on css3, or because they don’t have the will/manpower to create stuff like that before it’s approved by w3c, I don’t know, but it is kind of stupid, as a web dev, to know that opera won’t support things like column-count or round corners… Also, is there any css hack for opera? It would be so much easier to make sites compatible, or fully compatible.

  • bill

    I think you missed one of the most important reasons – their inabilty to leverage their M2 email client. They sort of let it languish, granted they’ve done back end improvements but the user interface and capabilities has seen little improvements until recently when they finally added WYSIWYG. M2 still could have been another Thunderbird if marketed and improved and would have been a way to increase browser usage.

    And how about ignoring reviewer comments – every time a publication reviewed Opera 6->8 they made complaints about the preference dialogs and other quirks opera just ignored them. Maybe reviewers aren’t correct but this is an important marketing channel and Opera just didn’t care. Bad reviews give users no reason to try a product but good ones pique interest.

    Opera may have failed as a popular desktop browser, though a tiny share of a huge market can still be profitable but on alternative devices it seems to be doing well, at least until FF and IE get their act together.

    Add-on’s – widgets are trivial whereas add-on’s build community and desirability due to the added functionality provided.

    I see you didn’t use the term ‘marketing’ and that’s ok because Opera doesn’t seem to believe in it either.

    And lastly they haven’t failed as a product as it’s still the best, though not completest, browser going.

  • Torbjørn Vik Lunde

    Number 2 made me switch to Firefox.
    (Now I’m dependent on extensions that I can’t find anywhere else.)

    And regarding number 5: Even advanced users can annoyed by complex GUI-design.

    I disagree with the title though, a more accurate would be “Why Opera never became a hit” or something like that. People have predicted the death of Opera for ages and ages, but it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t think Opera will grow to become huge in the near future, but I’m certain that they’ll be around in one form or another.

    Also: some of Opera’s weakness is also their strength. Their complex GUI is a result of a software packages that can do anything(can’t cut your lawn though). Some people really appreciate this.

  • http://drazick.blogli.co.il Drazick

    They have to improve their speed and User Interface.
    They should focus on the browser. Bo one need email client etc…

  • nobody

    prepare to be bashed by the only one opera fanboy left (he writes here under several names :) )

    but seriously, very good points:

    – absolutely no desktop marketing. NADA!

    – there is no feeling that opera cares about desktop as their main part. it is sidekick required for keeping the brand alive, because if noone remembers, their mobile browsers would face closed doors

    – they are ALWAYS one step ahead in innovation, but several steps behind in actual execution. their ideas are briliant and market-changing, but their implementation? if speed-dial had the same level of functionality as safari4′ one, it would have been ‘opera speed-dial’. nobody besides fanboys knows that it is opera’ invention

    - absolutely revolting main skin. no integration with windows (there ARE still issues in Vista/win7!) . previous skin wasnt nice, but it was professional, this one simply sux. it is childish, ugly, cheap. cheap is i think the best word. try ‘tango CL’ skin for comparison. that is a MATURE product.

    – very, very arogant attitude towards webdevelopers. their message is ‘we know 95% of you code in such way, but WE KNOW BETTER and we will implement this standard otherwise’. result? opera fails on such sites. and, seriously, who cares? Opera is happy, because they did what they wanted, webdevs because they do not need to worry about minor browser. and you can easily tell looking at why all top 10 pages aroudn the world fail in opera. it is always because opera does something completly different than all other browsers. do they think that webdevelopers are willing to fix these bugs for free? nooo, they are not.

    – very bad developer support. it was obvious for years, that firefox ‘just works’ on most sites, because it delivers outstanding, industry standard webdeveloper tools. opera did nothing for much, much too long. effect? opera’ tools still suck, and because of that noone cares to test against opera. without tools, or using this dragonfly-crap it takes much too long to be economicaly viable. they;ve shot their own foot. and they dare to blame developers. sorry, it is your fault opera. bite it.

    and a general fail of opera. their mobile browsers.

    after safari/chrome on iphone/android noone is going to use opera mobile if they have a choice. there is absolutely no comparison between these two. both claim to be full featured browsers. but it is safari/chrome that can work with more sites than opera desktop. opera failed at persuading us, that there needs be compromise when using mobile browser. iphone/android browser is a nail to a coffin. chrome engine is free to take. it is proffitable for htc to develop their own browser once instead paying opera per-installment fee. with that revenue gone.. bye bye

    company can only fund so many failed investments, and opera is trying to break record imho.

  • Grrblt

    All I see is points being fixed (spell check, marketing, web site compatibility, gui) and, as usual, nobody being a complete troll.

  • nobody

    no, these are things being ‘worked on’ not ‘fixed’ – you can tell the difference, cant you?

  • Br

    I have been using Opera for the past couple years mainly because of the Speed Dial and the ability to customize keyboard shortcuts. If Chrome had a customized Speed Dial instead of most visited sites Speed Dial I would switch. I may be forced to switch anyway as more and more sites I visit just don’t work in Opera. That is a deal breaker — if I browse with Opera and then have to open another browser to view certain sites, then I might as well switch to the other browser completely.

  • blah

    If there’s one thing I’d disagree it would be number 5. Seriously. A complicated GUI is 5 navigation buttons and wand, and address bar and a search field and a zoom drop down on the status bar? That is complicated?

    Go and see what a mess IE7 is.

    Oh, and if there’d be no browser sniffing there’d be 99% less Opera compatibility problems. The sniff is the problem, Opera is actually really apt at handling non-standard bug ridden web tag soup.

  • nobody

    browser sniffing CAN be a problem if it is done by idiots. they are absolute minority. most sniffers in reality tries to determine DOM compliant and IE-family from eachother. and this is quite legitimate, and unfortunatelly necessary way of doing things.

    there are some incremental sniffers – that look for certain functionality and base their code on that. problem there is that coders often assume that because A is present so is B and C (as in firefox). sadly, in opera it can work otherwise.

    and finally there are assumptions about actual implementation. this is where browsers differ badly – look at how click events are reported (all browsers use different techinque, IE being surprisingly the best) or any other basic stuff.

    there are more cases of opera doing something differently than firefox (because opera thinks their way is better) than actual brutal sniffing, eliminating opera wihtout abitliy to prove itself.

    safari somehow works, how is that?

  • http://sandalian.com Yeni Setiawan

    Have you guys tried Opera yet?

    Opera was the first browser that support SVG, Firefox imitate the tab from Opera, Safari steals speed dial from Opera.

    And, oh, I always think twice before download firefox because its size. 20+mb just for a browser and I have to download add-ons for another usage? What a waste.

  • http://www.copydeskusa.com Richard

    Wow, so much silliness, so little space. I’m going to put all of my replies to everyone in this same note. So I’ll quote lots of people here. But let me first state I’m far from an Opera “fanboy.” In fact, I’m always looking for a better browser, a better way of doing things. I tried to like Firefox 3.1 beta…tried to like chrome….tried to like Safari 4. But I always found that it took me longer to get things done with these than with Opera, because of Opera’s functionality features. Now for the distortions I want to respond to:

    >>they are still struggling to gain a solid part of the market share.”
    So why do I care about this? If I’m the only person using Opera, it doesn’t affect whether it works for me or not.

    >>Releasing final versions too fast<>Poor GUI…novice users having a hard time (understanding all the functions). <>used to not work well with lots of popular websites.<>M2 still could have been another Thunderbird if marketed and improved.<>Bad reviews give users no reason to try a product, but good ones pique interest.<>Now I’m dependent on extensions that I can’t find anywhere else.<>if speed-dial had the same level of functionality as safari4′ one, it would have been ‘opera speed-dial’. nobody besides fanboys knows that it is opera’ invention<> absolutely revolting main skin. no integration with windows <<

    There are 2 main skins that come already loaded up, one of them is a native skin that integrates perfectly with Windows. Besides, the whole idea behind Opera is that you can easily make it look exactly how YOU want it to look. That’s why changing skins is so much easier on Opera than any other browser. With Firefox, you download a skin, install it, then restart the browser. With Opera you just click it, wait a few seconds and it changes the browser to that skin. Don’t llike it? click “cancel.” Plus you can rearrange toolbars, change the size of icons to the exact size you want them, change the color of any skin…..Way superior to the other browsers.

  • blah

    [quote]safari somehow works, how is that?[/quote]
    easy.

    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-us) AppleWebKit/XX (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/ZZ Safari/YY

    Chrome is even worse.

    Oh, and about that remark. You can’t blame Opera for all incompatibilities. There are certain cases of Opera bugs, and there are certain cases of Firefox buggy behaviour. So what? We are back to emulating other browsers’s bugs, like in 2002? Or there were cases of webdevs using Mozilla specific internal calls used for US and extensions. If a certain site isn’t using something outright unsupported in Opera(or buggy), or in a buggy, Firefox specific way in my experience 99% of cases can be solved by simple masking of the user agent. Maybe I’m lucky, but I can’t name(from the top of my head) a site that just refuses to work with Opera. Oh, and there’s the factor that Opera is just ignored in the US. It’s fairly popular in Europe though.

  • nobody

    so why opera cant use the same techique? huh? if that works for safari or chrome why opera cant do the same? IIS logs in cs-referer column are going to be fatter than ever, but it is low cost, isnt it?

  • Anthony A

    I use Opera as my main browser and love it. Whats not to like about it? Fast, light, configurable like no other. I think one of the main reasons it hasn’t taken off is that it wasn’t free until the last few years. You either had to pay or put up with adds right in the GUI of the browser. I first started using it when they made it free and have loved itever since. Another reason is it may be too advanced for the average user. I love all the options in it. It would be a sad day if and when Opera was to disappear.

  • uzzer
  • blah

    @nobody:

    well, this is a question to ask the Opera guys, and not me. (Since Opera used Ie – compatible UA up until 2006 I think, this ain’t going to change anytime soon)

  • Grrblt

    nobody on March 16th, 2009 12:49 pm

    no, these are things being ‘worked on’ not ‘fixed’ – you can tell the difference, cant you?

    I said “are being fixed”, not “are fixed” – you can tell the difference, can’t you?

  • Dobby

    i do agree with some of these things and opera software needs to read this and clean up there act but i love Opera! :)

    http://www.opera.com/browser/

  • xErath

    I’m sorry for the half hour Vygantas wasted typing this piece of shit.
    You actually managed to say 6 big lies, and not 6 big facts.

    To @Tiago: Opera supports as much css3 as webkit, and more that gecko. Selectors and media queries are some exampled.

  • http://www.favbrowser.com Vygantas Lipskas

    xErath,

    It’s ok to be a fan of band, brand or even web browser. However, as one of the TuxRadar editors said:

    “But being a fan of Linux doesn’t necessarily make you a Linux fanboy – the kind of person who blindly ignores anything negative about their passion of choice as if that somehow made it better.

    In fact, we think more Linux users need to admit there are some places where Linux isn’t quite as good as its competitors. ”

    For example, 1st fact about patents: from http://www.opera.com/company/vision/ it says:

    “Opera Software does not believe innovation in the software industry is protected or encouraged by software patents. ”

    Same with other points, they are not based on lies.

    As for GUI, yes, IE is a mess.

  • nobody

    “no, these are things being ‘worked on’ not ‘fixed’ – you can tell the difference, cant you?

    I said “are being fixed”, not “are fixed” – you can tell the difference, can’t you?”

    I do not care about things being worked on for years. I do care about visible and tangible improvements in refereed areas. and Im sorry to say, but there are none. What is my gain from ‘opera is fixing it’. this is common lie given to end-users while absolutely noone in company cares about given subject.

    if it takes them 10 years to START marketing their desktop browser decently, then dont count on me waiting. google managed to be founded, developed and capitalised on in less time :) not mentioning safari, that wasnt even there 10 years ago. now it is third major player (ie, ff, safari). it can be done, but opera spends much too much time ‘working on’ things, not actualy delivering quality products. stuff like rss-preveiw should be done by extension developers, thus freeing more developers to do core work (yes, i know, different man do differnet things – it is a lie in software development – decent c++ programmer can write both rss preview and speed dial improvements..)

  • TTT

    @xErath
    Where exactly? They didn’t even have :not() until very recently…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_layout_engines_(Cascading_Style_Sheets)

  • vyggien00b

    Opera Software is against software patents

    So is Mozilla. Your point being?

    Releasing final versions too fast

    So does Mozilla. Your point being?

    Remember Opera 9.5 Final release

    You mean the one where Opera’s user base grew by 25% in 2 months?

    Not listening to the community

    Complete BS.

    Opera.com home page promotes/used to promote Opera Mini

    Only if you were visiting it using Opera. If you used other browsers, it promoted and promotes Opera desktop. Fail again.

    Poor GUI

    BS again. It looks exactly like any other browser.

    Your article is complete and utter BS. Opera failed? Opera is making money, and is growing massively in all business areas. More than 100% revenue increase on the desktop is a failure?

  • vyggien00b

    @nobody, why are you always obsessing over Opera and spending every waking moment trolling about Opera? It’s scary how obsessed you seem to be :-o

  • vyggien00b
  • http://www.favbrowser.com Vygantas Lipskas

    Anthony A,,

    I doubt that it will disappear. Their revenues are increasing, users are growing. No reason to stop, righht? :-)

    vyggien00b,

    Opera Software is against software patents

    So is Mozilla. Your point being?

    Opera is the most innovative browser. How many features were copied by other browsers and how many features Opera copied?

    Releasing final versions too fast

    So does Mozilla. Your point being?

    You mean the one where Opera’s user base grew by 25% in 2 months?

    Yes, that one. As far as I can remember, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or IE versions had really awful bugs after the final release which required to restart browsers every few hours. Opera trasnfers/GUI leak for instance. However, Firefox memory leak bug was also a big issue which annoyed many users and made them switch to other browsers.

    Regarding failure, if you have read my post, it said that: “Opera Desktop is growing.”

    As for home page, yes, now when you visit Opera.com, it promotes Opera Desktop.

    Regarding poor GUI, have you ever installed opera to a really new pc user? Because when I did, some of them were even not able to open a new tab. And yes, GUI situation gets better with every major release.

  • http://none A.J. Cunning

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-daily-20080701-20090317-bar

    “Always look at the bright side…”
    which makes you feel happy, yes – but does surely not allow to recognize anything substantial, at least the truth — even farer away from changing anything.

    Always lying to oneself is certainly not a very succesful method to make things better!

  • http://www.scss.com.au/family/andrew/ Andrew Gregory

    1. As already pointed out, Opera is not the only company against patents.
    2. Any software x.0 is most likely to be buggy. No initial cut of Windows is ever any good until the first service pack comes out. Microsoft hasn’t failed.
    3. Auto-update has been a while, but spell checking has been supported for quite a while…
    4. It’s already been pointed out that Opera uses UA sniffing to promote desktop Opera to different web browsers.
    5. The default Opera GUI is practially identical to all the other browsers.
    6. Incompatibility. The truth is that browsers are not written to be compatible with web sites. Rather, web sites are written to be compatible with browsers. Web developers do not submit their sites to browser developers before they publish. Instead, they make sure their site works in their chosen browsers, ensuring that those browsers show no problems. Nobody likes to hear that because convincing one browser developer to “do something” must surely be easier than changing millions of developers?! Sorry, but *only* web site developers can fix this problem.

    All in all, a very poorly researched article.

    Oh, and Opera not supporting any CSS3 as suggested by the first comment? Hmmm, almost complete selector support, some of which have been supported since version 7.0, more than six years ago!!! What about text shadow, web fonts, alpha colours, paged media, speech, media queries? None of that counts, I suppose. Just another one-eyed Firefox/Safari fanboy.

  • sigh

    Another trashy trolling article with Opera bashing by Vyggie? Say it isn’t so!

    “Opera failed”

    By whose metrics? By the fact that it’s dominant in many countries like Russia and Ukraine? That it’s much bigger than Safari and Chrome everywhere in the world (maybe except for the US)?

  • mihmanz

    I’m not happy with several things Opera Team doesn’t want to fix, but they are not listed in any way in your article. I tried IE5, IE6, IE7 (not too bad), IE8 (quite good), Avant, SeaMonkey (why anybody needs it?), Netscape 8, Netscape 9 (why they still use it?), Maxthon, Flock, Google Chrome (good for opening links, fast), Safari 3 (love it), Firefox 1, 2, 3, 3.1 (why?why?why?…don’t see any point of it) and some more. And I must say that I’m still with Opera from the times of Opera 7. This is without any doubt the best software solution for browsing AND WORKING in/with Internet.
    P.S. Poor UI is a BIG BS!!! If Opera’s UI is poor than Firefox’s, Chrome’s and IE’s are something unbelievable bad ones.

  • hello

    If Opera’s UI is so poor, then how come other browsers keep following Opera, with everything from tab placement to speed dials?

  • hello

    uzzer: You are a moron.

    Opera already has a support system. Why on earth would they waste their time with GS?

  • Foo

    What is “hello” talking about?
    Since when has any application not placed tabs at the top or bottom by default; placed the status bar, if any, at the bottom and sidebars to the sides?
    Speaking of crappy UI decisions, Opera are still using a modal pop-up dialog for its search window -_-

  • nobody

    about opera css3 support. yes, opera supports many css3 properties, including many, that no one supports. this is opera stubornes in action. they are not going to include support for something all other browsers have (border-radius) because ‘not’, but theyll include something that noone will ever use, because only opera supports it. it is VERY stupid and impractical approach, because opera’ properties are going to be used (code only for opera? not in this world) neither will opera support properties that are widely used now (and nobody gives a damn that opera does not support them).

    then there is that sorry svg story. who uses that? point me please to a place that uses this marvel. it was claimed as ‘mobile saviour’. but now mobiles have better CPUs that desktops 5 years ago (my android g1 has ~500mhz!) and are PERFECTLY capable of dealing with rich animations, and dont require some svg BS. btw. svg eats cpu like there is no tomorrow, so it isnt mobile technoogy anyway. WHO decided to spend milions on SVG development in opera? and where i can see ANY gain from that? it is a failed investment.

    as for GUI – open firefox and opera. open preferences dialog. tell me, are they both equaly user friendly, clear, well structured and obvious to all groups of users? because in this test opera FAILS so badly, that it isnt even funny. compare firefox and opera about:config. opera’ simply sux.. and there is that whole story about customisation. how is that, that you need to EDIT TEXT INI FILES IN SOME REMOTE FOLDER to edit/add menu options? this isnt 1987!! this is why opera gui sux.

    and tell me, does opera still cant copy rich text to be inserted in word with all that formatting?

  • hello

    @Foo, Opera has the tabs above the address bar.

    Funny how this “nobody” guy spends every waking moment of his pathetic life obsessing over Opera. I wonder what turned him into this instane troll/fanboy creature :D

    And the contradictions? “Opera doesn’t support one CSS3 thing (which happens to not be widely used on the web), so they are stubborn”. But then, when Opera supports most of SVG (which is actually used a lot in some circles), they are terrible for being better than other browsers :D

    There’s no reasoning with trolls like that.

    Preferences dialog? Most users don’t open those, and Opera has the basic settings laid out just fine.

  • hello

    Oh, and why is the obsessive anti-Opera troll going on about CPUs? He’s basically trying to justify the bloat in other browsers by pointing to 500 MHz CPUs in mobile phones? :D

    Well, that 500 MHz CPU sure didn’t help the Fennec failure to run on Windows Mobile because of all the bloat.

  • hello

    Funny how “Foo” ignored Speed Dial, full text history search and all those other goodies other browsers are ripping off from Opera :D

    So if Opera’s UI is so poor, then how come other browsers keep following Opera, with everything from tab placement to speed dials? Those are just TWO examples. Never mind the fact that Opera was the first browser with a search field, integrated search in address bar, popup blocker, etc.

  • nobody

    and how many inventions all other browsers use did opera copied from others? because you know, copying is often good :)

  • hello

    The question was:

    If Opera’s UI is so poor, then how come other browsers keep following Opera, with everything from tab placement to speed dials?

    But never mind, nobody. You are obsessing over Opera 24/7, and clearly completely incapable of rational or factual thought.

  • Alex K

    because in this test opera FAILS so badly, that it isnt even funny. compare firefox and opera about:config. opera’ simply sux.. and there is that whole story about customisation. how is that, that you need to EDIT TEXT INI FILES IN SOME REMOTE FOLDER to edit/add menu options?

    I love opera very much but agree with this.

  • Average

    Greetings,

    I am new here but wanted to say few things:

    1. You need to understand that by providing Opera’s weak points, mr. nobody helps Opera and as far as I can understand, he is not lieing? I am not into web browsers world.

    2. We learn most from our failues and improve due to criticism.

    Bless you all.

  • Foo

    Opera has the tabs above the address bar.

    I still don’t see your point… oh, wait you’re talking about Chrome? Wouldn’t really call that a majority browser…

    Well, that 500 MHz CPU sure didn’t help the Fennec failure to run on Windows Mobile because of all the bloat.

    Given that it has been in development for barely half a year, I’d say they are doing pretty good.

    Funny how “Foo” ignored Speed Dial, full text history search and all those other goodies other browsers are ripping off from Opera

    Why exactly should I waste time and effort in predicting your thought-pattern?
    “Speed dial” is in no way innovation and just a simplification of the homebuilt start-pages that most people (that I know at least) use. At least Safari will apparently have indicators for updated content in its “top sites” and Chromes page is at least dynamic.

    Full text history search[1] is, IMO, only an extension of the usual url matching (another step in its natural evolution if you will), just like title/tags matching is.
    [1] Afaik, it’s only recently visited pages that are cached that can be searched. So it’s not really full.

    Other goodies? Sorry, I’ve never been interested in history (heck, not even yesterday interests me) so I haven’t really memorized any such lists like you seem to have.

    So if Opera’s UI is so poor, then how come other browsers keep following Opera, with everything from tab placement to speed dials?

    Just noting here that I have answered this above, so no bitching about ignoring this, ok thanks.

    Never mind the fact that Opera was the first browser with a search field

    This is such a worthless feature that I can’t even bother to look it up. I’ll give this one to you, for free!

    integrated search in address bar

    Wait, what? Are you talking about keywords? If so, Netscape had already implemented keywords in pre-release versions before Opera released their version.

    popup blocker

    Most browsers (except for IE obviously) got an pop-up blocker back in 2000 so it’s hard to say whether anyone really copied anything…

    Lastly, you do realize that the first version of Mozilla was released in December 2000 and the first version of Firefox were released in November 2004, right?

  • nobody

    “If Opera’s UI is so poor, then how come other browsers keep following Opera, with everything from tab placement to speed dials?”

    ideas – are good

    execution? (looks, details of behaviour) are very bad, and are easily surpassed by competitors.

  • new

    “Regarding poor GUI, have you ever installed opera to a really new pc user? Because when I did, some of them were even not able to open a new tab. And yes, GUI situation gets better with every major release.”

    Actually, it is easier to open a new tab in Opera than in Firefox. One of my friend was using Firefox for more than a year before he realised you could open multiple tabs instead of multiple windows :) . Opera has (atleast had) the New Tab button quite clearly. The latest GUI spoiled it a bit , but there is still a button next to the last tab, unlike Firefox.

  • TTT

    There were a new tab button in Firefox originally, although in the navigation bar instead of the tab bar. Though, for some reason, they removed it at some version. Anyway, it’s going to be back (in the tab bar this time) with the release of Fx3.5.
    Speaking of the tab bar, I would just like to mention some bugs that I would love to see fixed.

    Speaking of hard to find functionality, I’ve met several Opera users who for some reason had never heard about middleclicking a tab to close it! You should definitely try to promote that little functionality more ;)

    Oh, and do I remember “wrongly” if I say that there is/were a hidden setting in about:config to display a “new tab icon” in the tabbar in Firefox?

  • effzee

    Opera are far from perfect in all the decisions they’ve made and directions they’ve taken, but the same can be said with all software makers. One reason the browser, nay internet, marketplace is complicated is because it’s been difficult to foresee its direction. Take, for example, the current fad: “cloud” apps, where your browser becomes some JS portal to web-based apps. This seems to be all the rage at the moment and is corroborated by people’s obsession with JS benchmarks (eg sunspider). What happens if this little trend dies off, and the wider community realise the problems with the JS-app development model? Can all the browser makers be accused of making a stupid decision and wasting lots of time and money?

    I don’t think so…

    They just adapt their strategy; refocus, leaving the development branch dangling. This is very common in software; all the browser makers do it. One could say this of Chrome in its entirety!

    I do agree with some of the points made by V. but I think the premise behind the article is problematic. Using such conventional measurements as browser market-share Opera *may* have failed (the actual amount of users is likely much higher due to UA spoofing), but with a shift of thinking Opera has been a big success. Apart from driving feature development for the browser, Opera has also been instrumental in the drive towards standards (and against monopolies), in the internet marketplace. Part of this drive is to not have double standards about your position; patents and proprietary technology if visible inside effectively un-standardises the internet. So, would we see the same internet, with browser incompatibilities easing as webdevs move towards standards compliance, without Opera’s influence over all these years?

    I don’t think so.

    Like some other posters, I think the lack of development on M2 has probably been Opera’s biggest failing, and V.’s biggest omission. I don’t buy that new developments like SVG are a waste of time and money, a vector-rendering standard for the internet is important for the long term even if not flavour-of-the-month popular. I do wish that Opera would continue developments sometimes where instead they “throw something out there”, see if it sticks, and then turn their attention away from it forever.

    I do buy the argument that (together with the M2 issue) GUI and site compatibility have been probably been Opera’s main achilles for the masses. The actual look (skin) doesn’t really matter too much, since its so easy to change; there are different opinions on this but I would probably go with keeping it fairly close to everything else out there by default. The devil is in the details, as they say, and for new users this can be a real problem: strange icons and panels that make no sense to newb’s coming from IE 6. It’s a difficult balancing act; Opera wants people to try the features; if they’re hidden, they won’t get used. I always felt a really clever thing would be an optional interactive tutorial that runs (optionally) the first time you run Opera in a profile. A 30-minute thing that introduces some of the features, but interactively, involving the user, rather than some webpage redirect to a feature list.

    Now, turning to site compatibility, we all know there are lots of reasons for this and its not just as simple as saying Opera has poor site compatibility where all the others work beautifully. It’s not that simple, but on the whole Opera has been less compatible with the more popular sites (facebook and ebay being two examples) than the others. Opera’s argument has always been that compromising the engine to fit bad code encourages the continuation of the paradigm. This is a tough stance to take, effectively ostracising Opera from the browser mass. To make that principle work, Opera has a multipronged business approach, and therefore cannot be seen as a “failure” unless by very limited definition. It’s like saying Ferrari are failing because they’re not selling more cars to the masses. Principles are usually tough in business; they marginalise the individual but often endure and win out in the long run. Notice how everyone’s rattling on about standards these days?

    I think it’s a shame that people generally are not more open-minded, preferring the old fanboy appeals. Time and again Opera’s demise has been prophesied. Principles and ethics don’t marry well to business, but some do dare to tread the tightrope.

  • hello

    Average:

    “nobody” isn’t helping Opera at all. All he is doing is to spread lies and obsess over Opera 24/7 for some reason.

    As for Foo’s ranting, he clearly didn’t bother to even address my points. Too bad. He even thinks the search field which now funds Mozilla is useless!

    And yes, Opera was the first browser with a popup blocker – Opera 3.0 (Dec. 01, 1997):

    http://www.opera.com/docs/history/

  • Gary Sugar

    I think problems 1-5 are only partly true, and anyway are insignificant compared to the huge problem of incompatible sites. Every popular email site is frequently broken in Opera. Lots of other popular sites with interactive features are also frequently broken in Opera. Site context menus don’t work anywhere. Lots of sites with a lot of scripting perform slowly in Opera. Obviously Opera fans manage to find ways to work around these problems, or they’re happy using alternative sites. But most people who try Opera just think it’s buggy.

  • wut

    Still waiting for the definition of “failed”.

    Opera is profitable. It has seen constant growth (in fact, desktop revenues grew more than 100% last quarter). Constant new and huge contracts.

    By all measurements, Opera Software as a business is flourishing. And is that not the point of a business?

    Gary Sugar:

    Site context menus don’t work anywhere.

    And aren’t used anywhere either (or aren’t necessary).

    Lots of sites with a lot of scripting perform slowly in Opera.

    Nothing to do with scripting. Firefox 2 is dead slow in the scripting department compared to Opera, and yet it performs just fine. Why is that? Probably because sites actually optimize for Firefox, while Opera doesn’t get that special treatment.

    On the other hand, the only site performing slowly for me in Opera is Facebook. Everything else is fast.

    most people who try Opera just think it’s buggy

    That’s just an insane claim. Stop pretending to speak on behalf of everyone else.

  • nobody

    “Still waiting for the definition of “failed”.”

    for me it is a product good enough to steal it’s features, but not good enough to mention its name.

    opera failed, because despite 13years of existence it NEVER ever was a mayor player. it had its chance in the days of firebird/phoenix/firefox1. that was long ago and wasted.

    now it is FIFTH browser, when listed (ie/ff/safari/chrome). and due to it’s incredibly low market share, very poor branding and lack of any measurable cool factor it is constantly ignored.

    opera did a lot to help market ignore opera. being ALWAYS different, and knowing better (like with context menus on pages.. guess what, these are almost everywhere, but you dont know about them, because opera cant support them – try google maps and right click on a map, how do you ask for directions on google maps in opera anyway?)

    “Probably because sites actually optimize for Firefox, while Opera doesn’t get that special treatment.”

    and it is because of two things. first, opera is a marginal player that 2% of users use – supporting it (testing etc) costs MOOOONEY, and if money gain from these 2% is lower than costs to support opera, only idiots would have done it. thats why most major webpages ‘are working on opera support’ but somehow evey single one fails in opera. for years. and it will never work.

    and it is a marginal and ignored player, because opera wasted it’s oportunity when IE started to loose market domination. it is a cost of bad decisions on opera side.

    you get special treatment because you first gave developers something that THEY wanted. opera still couldnt deliver working dev tools. so what we are talking about here? webdevs are going to altruisticaly fix opera issues without tools? WTF?

    btw. 100% increase over marginal gain isnt a success :)

    “That’s just an insane claim. Stop pretending to speak on behalf of everyone else.”

    Stop pretending to speak on behalf of everyone else.

  • trollbody

    opera failed, because despite 13years of existence it NEVER ever was a mayor player

    And yet it’s growing like crazy and the company sets revenue and profit records each quarter.

    Sounds like a success to me.

    now it is FIFTH browser, when listed (ie/ff/safari/chrome)

    No it isn’t:

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-ww-daily-20090101-20090324-bar

    context menus on pages.. guess what, these are almost everywhere

    No they aren’t.

    you get special treatment because you first gave developers something that THEY wanted

    Wrong. Firefox got special treatment because it was “Netscape”.

    btw. 100% increase over marginal gain isnt a success :)

    Marginal? Opera has nearly 40 million desktop users.

  • lulz

    Maybe Opera isn’t doing well in the US, and all those stats are extremely US-centric.

    But in the rest of the world Opera is doing very well. Up to 30-40% market share in some countries, actually.

  • Josh

    i have just closed all tabs on opera to show the speed dial menu and at the top in the search bar it had a google picture but the search bar was linked to ask!!!!!! just one question opera why?

  • new

    The search engine in the speed dial pages is “Ask” by default whereas the default Search engine in the search bar is “google” . I think its just a business agreement with the respective search companies.

  • Pingback: Opera: fifteen years of stunning performance « Belorez

  • 1337

    I disagree with all the other comments. I think he had some valid points and opera does fail

  • raghav kumar

    hey…….afterall opera is the best browser one would use.it is a fact that it is not supported by a big company ,it is not that it is in effective

  • Aidan

    They have fixed many of these problems… One thing I mainly like is the ability to download and install skins. They also listen to the community, they have bug report and “Contact Us” forms on their website.