IE and Firefox get a new ‘free’ competitor.
Described as the fastest Web browser available on any platform, Opera
pioneered several features that we now take for granted, including tabbed
browsing. The latest version–code-named Merlin–is full-featured with an inline
search box, a password manager, integrated security features, an integrated
email and newsgroup client, and facilities for navigating its entire interface
via voice or keyboard.
Opera freed its browser to better compete with Mozilla Firefox, a free
browser alternative that has managed to secure more than 8 percent of the market
over the past year. By comparison, Opera, which has been around for 10 years,
has garnered only 1 percent to 2 percent of the overall browser market. Web
browser experts have often hailed Opera’s superiority to Firefox and
market-leader Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), but the earlier policy of
charging for the privilege of using the product turned away many users. Now
Opera hopes to make up the lost income from paid users via a link to Google in
the search box.
My guess is that this would dampen Firefox’s momentum since switchers from IE
now have an option of either Opera or Firefox.