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Alternative Browser set Free
Posted by American Webly | 12.4.2000

After years of domination by Microsoft and Netscape, the browser market may be getting interesting again. This weekend MSNBC reported that Opera software is planning on making Opera version 5.0 for Windows available as a free download starting Wednesday.

Popular with many surfers - especially in Europe - for its compact size and slick features, Opera has had trouble making inroads in a market controlled by Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer, in large part because the Oslo, Norway based company has insisted on charging for the software - something other browser manufacturers don't do.

With public opinion running strongly against megacorporations like Microsoft and Netscape-AOL, don't be surprised if the move has an immediate impact. Reaction to Netscape 6.0, the latest release from AOL, has been lukewarm at best. And of course, while Microsoft Explorer is widely considered to be a state of the art offering, the vocal "Microsoft sucks/Bill Gates is Satan" chanting minority continues to cause Redmond problems.

The bad news? Users who download Opera will be forced to view advertising in an integrated browser window, an aspect of the plan which suggests the Norwegians may not yet fully grok the realities of the browser market. The evidence is pretty solid that people don't like using adware on a daily basis. They may may be willing to tolerate the occasional ad in less frequently used applications - in games for example - but they are strongly opposed to advertising in software they use many times a day. Expect the ads to disappear after Opera figures this one out.

Opera 5.0 for Windows available 12.6.200. Pay-per-download version available for Linux. A version for the Mac is under development. Click for screenshot.


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