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Opera Software ASA
Type Public (OSE: OPERA)
Founded 1995
Headquarters Oslo, Norway
Key people Lars Boilesen (CEO)
Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner (founder)
Geir Ivarsøy (co-founder)
Håkon Wium Lie (CTO)
Industry Software
Products Web browser
Revenue NOK 497.1 million (2008)[1]
Operating income NOK 80.9 million (2008)[1]
Net income NOK 89.9 million (2008)[1]
Employees 760 (end of Q3, 2009) [2]

Opera Software ASA (OSE: OPERA) is a Norwegian software company, primarily known for its Opera family of web browsers. Opera Software is also involved in promoting Web standards through participation in the W3C. The company has its headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange. The company also has offices in Sweden, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Poland, Czech Republic and the United States. Opera's stated vision is "to deliver the best Internet experience on any device."[3]



Opera Software was founded as an independent company on August 30, 1995 by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy.[4] The company was created to continue what was originally a research project at Telenor, the largest Norwegian telecommunications company.

Opera Software's first product, the Opera web browser version 2.1 for Windows, was released in 1997. Opera Software had an IPO in February 2004, and was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange March 11, 2004.[4]

In an attempt to capitalize on the emerging market for Internet-connected handheld devices, a project to port the Opera browser to more platforms was started in 1998.[4] Opera 4.0, released in 2000,[5] included a new cross-platform core that facilitated creation of editions of Opera for multiple operating systems and platforms.[6]

Up to this point, the Opera browser was trialware and had to be purchased after the trial period ended. But version 5.0 (released in 2000) saw the end of the trial period requirement. Instead, Opera became ad-sponsored, displaying advertisements to users without a license.[7] Users could still buy licenses for several years, however. Later versions of Opera gave the user the choice of seeing banner ads or targeted text advertisements from Google.

On January 12, 2005, Opera Software announced that it would offer free licenses to higher education institutions[8] — a change from the previous cost of $1,000 USD for unlimited licenses. Schools that opted for the free license included Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, University of Oxford, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Duke University. Opera was commonly criticized for having been ad-sponsored, since this was seen as a barrier to gaining market share. In the newer versions the user was allowed a choice of generic graphical banners, or text-based targeted advertisements provided by Google based upon the page being viewed. Users could pay a license fee to remove the advertisement bar.

With version 8.5 (released in 2005) the advertisements were removed entirely and primary financial support came through revenue from Google (which is by contract Opera's default search engine).[9]

The introduction in August 2005 of "Opera Mini", a Java ME based web browser for mobile phones marketed not to end users but to mobile network operators, possibly marks a new direction towards directly revenue-generating business, making the company less dependent on give-away and advertising-based Internet software.[10]

On September 20, 2005, Opera announced that it would remove the advertising from its browser and remain free of charge. Although Opera was free to download and use before this change, it had previously displayed an advertising banner unless the user purchased a license. The move was made in the hope that it would prompt more users to switch to the Opera browser.[11] However, Opera does continue to charge for its "Opera Mobile" product which runs on many Mobile devices.[12]

Legal issues

On May 18, 2004, Opera Software settled a lawsuit. Their statement on the Oslo Stock Exchange read:[13][14]

Opera Software ASA has settled legal claims with an international corporation resulting in payment to Opera of net USD 12.75 million. The other party is not a customer of Opera and the settlement does not negatively impact future revenues. The entire amount will be booked in Q2.
Details are confidential pursuant to the settlement agreement.

It is widely theorized that the 'international corporation' named above is Microsoft,[15] who had previously blocked Opera users from correctly viewing (see First controversy and Second controversy).

In 2007 Opera filed a complaint against Microsoft in the European Commission, alleging that bundling Internet Explorer with Microsoft Windows is harmful to both the consumer and to other web browser companies.[16]


  1. ^ a b c ""Opera Software ASA – Fourth Quarter 2008"". Opera Software ASA. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2009.  
  2. ^ "Quarterly Reports 2009 - Third quarter".  
  3. ^ "About Opera". Opera Software. Retrieved 11 October 2007.  
  4. ^ a b c Opera Software - Milestones
  5. ^ "Affiliated Organization of Firefox and Mozilla". Mozilla Japan. 2006. Retrieved 24 October 2007.  
  6. ^ Schenk, Mark (6 January 2007). "Opera browser version history". Retrieved 24 October 2007.  
  7. ^ Lettice, John (6 December 2000). "Opera browser goes free with version 5.0 launch". The Register. Retrieved 11 October 2007.  
  8. ^ Students surf safely with Opera: Opera site license free for educational institutions, January 12, 2005, retrieved on October 25, 2005
  9. ^ Baker, Loren (20 September 2005). "Opera Goes Free with Help from Google". Search Engine Journal. Retrieved 12 October 2007.  
  10. ^ Have WAP but want WEB? Introducing Opera Mini for mobile phones, URL accessed on April 20, 2006
  11. ^ Feel Free: Opera Eliminates Ad Banner and Licensing Fee
  12. ^ Buy Opera
  13. ^ "Settlement Of Legal Claims". Stock Exchange Announcements. Opera Software. May 18, 2004. Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2007.  
  14. ^ Oates, John (18 May 2004). "Opera settles legal claims". The Register. Retrieved 15 December 2007.  
  15. ^ Microsoft behind $12 million payment to Opera, URL access on April 20, 2006.
  16. ^ Dignan, Larry (13 December 2007). "Opera files complaint against Microsoft in the EU over IE, Windows bundle; CTO makes Web standards case". ZDNet. Retrieved 15 December 2007.  

External links

Simple English

Opera Software is a company in Oslo, Norway that makes Opera, a set of tools for using the Internet.

Other websites

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