Exclusive Interview With Jon Von Tetzchner

By | June 5, 2015

Exclusive Interview With Jon Von Tetzchner

Jon Von Tetzchner, the founder and former CEO of Opera Software, has recently launched his own web browser (Vivaldi) and to celebrate this very occasion, we got you an exclusive interview.


1. Why exactly did you leave Opera Software? What was your “final straw” moment like?

Since 2003, so for more than 7 years, we had a situation at Opera where some investors wanted to go in a different direction. They did not like the focus on the product, values and people. They wanted only focus on “shareholder returns”, meaning the stock price. After 7 years of fighting, I was tired.

2. What was your reaction when you learned that Opera is ditching Presto in favor of Blink?

I was not really surprised. Some investors and parts of management, meaning those that had no technical understanding, had wanted to do this for some time. I was obviously disappointed. Presto was a great piece of code.

3. Did you guys ever considered doing that when you were in charge of Opera Software?

No. There was outside push, but inside the company people understood the value of having your own code. It was also a major selling point towards customers. It was rather unique to have this significant piece of code and people that knew it well.

4. How do you feel about the current version of Opera for desktop? It seems you are not exactly satisfied with the decisions they have made, hence the launch of Vivaldi.

When Opera left Presto, there was also a decision to change the target user. We (Opera) used to provide for those that wanted more, but the decision was to focus on the generic user. This is their decision to make, but we (Vivaldi) have decided that this leaves a hole in the market. A hole we aim to fill.

5. When you have stepped down from Opera Software as the CEO but still served as a strategic adviser, were the any topics and / or decisions that have caused serious fights between you and Lars Boilesen?

In hindsight, I made a mistake to stick around as long as I did.

6. Let’s talk about Vivaldi! What’s up with the name? It looks like you can’t get enough of opera! What were some of the alternatives?

We went through a lot of names, but we found Vivaldi and we like it. :)

7. What made you to choose Chromium over Gecko?

It was a tough call, but we felt that the code was better for our use and with a growing market share.

8. Why focus on power users?

The other browser vendors tend to focus on the generic user and try to make things easy to use for non technical users. That is all good, but it means that the products are not great for those that want to do more with their browsers. They have to choose between a limited browser and a browser using a lot of (incompatible) extensions. We aim to provide for the user that wants more from their browser. Wants to use powerful functions and tailor it to their own usage.

9. Will your Mail client include a support for RSS Feeds?

Over time I would expect that. But maybe not in the initial version.

10. If you were in charge of Mozilla, what would you change to stop the decline of Firefox’s market share?

I think I will leave it to them to make the right choices for them. :)

11. Have you had a chance to test Microsoft Edge? What’s your opinion about it?

I am happy to see Internet Explorer get an update. I think users want to see the browsers evolve. We will be making sure they do.

12. Any closing thoughts?

I started building browsers 21 years ago. It was a lot of fun at Opera and it is a lot of fun at Vivaldi. This time, however, there are no investors, just us. We will be making a great browser for our friends. We have a great team and a great community of users.

Our aim is to build a browser that feels like it was made for you. This means we will have a lot of ways to do things and a lot of tailoring options. We will also add functionality, such as mail, that is not found in any other browser. We will innovate and we will listen, both at the same time. The close ties we have to our user base is something we all love and something we aim to continue to strengthen.

A big shout out to Jon Von Tetzchner and Varsha Chowdhury for the interview.

If you haven’t tried Vivaldi yet, give it a go! Beta version is coming soon too or so we heard.

Follow Vivaldi Browser on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

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.

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. ruaman says:

    It’s great to know that Vivaldi is going to focus on users feedback & innovation. Looking forward to beta version.

  2. Katsuki says:

    It is not fair. If you decide to post news about chromium based browser, you must include news about sleipnir, rockmelt, epic browser, yandex browser, torch and tons other chromium based browser, and then I will loss my interest in this site.

    BTW I am only interested in browser that have its own layout engine.