This is mainly a Hungarian Opera blog, but now we'll make an exception. We have recently made an interview with Opera's CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner, and I would like to share his answers also with English speaking Opera fans. I'm sure you'll find some interesting answers: you can read about localisation, browser wars, the future of Opera and the (mobile) internet, innovation and so on. And now the interview (click here to read the full article):
First of all we want to thank Jon making us the best browser out there!
Thank you. And my gratitude goes back to the Opera community in Hungary. Without all our users, testers and other opinionated, smart people out there, Opera would never have been where it is today.
1. Opera is used by many people around the world, including users who don't speak English nor other popular languages. Hungarians are among them. When can we expect that My Opera and other important Opera sites (ex. download page, "first run" page) have Hungarian versions too?
Localization is a major priority for Opera. We are currently setting up a program for so-called community-driven translation, to make our web sites and services available in more local langauges. The My Opera Community pages is expected to become available in Hungarian fairly shortly, for example. Support and landing pages are also on our roadmap to be translated into your language.
3. Recently Opera announced many products, that turned out to be half-ready at the time they were launched, like Dragonfly, still in alpha phase, or Opera Mobile 9.5. Other products, like the Opera 9.5, came out with lots of bugs in spite of being delayed many times. What causes these timing and quality problems?
Opera is delivering its browser technology on a long range of platforms, both to end users and to big customers such as Nintendo, Sony, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and others. Our goal is to deliver fully functional products across the board. Sometimes, products (such as the public Opera Mobile 9.5) stays in beta longer than we'd like it to. It's not optimal and we're always doing our best to avoid delays.
4. Your company filed an antitrust complaint against Microsotf back in 2007, accusing it of illegally tying Internet Explorer to the Windows, and its Internet Explorer is not standard compliant enough. This act divided the users, some of them agree you, others found it incomprehensible. What do you expect from this complaint? What outcome would you be pleased with?
The outcome we would be pleased with is that the large proportion of internet users out there (who are still using IE) get a real opportunity to make an informed choice about the browser they are using. We had a unique opportunity to file a complaint with the European Commission on the back of previous rulings against Microsoft. It is now up to the Commission to consider and enforce potential remedies.
5. Although Opera had some success recently, its market share never really went beyond 1%. Firefox starting much later is now over 20%, and according to the latest statistics even the newcomer Chrome overtook Opera. Don't you think that you're doing something wrong? Do you have any plan to radically change your marketing strategy? Aren't you afraid of free Fennec taking over the userbase of Opera Mobile?
Your comment about marketshare is 100% incorrect. You are referring to market share stats in the United States (which is where NetApplications are primarily running their statistical services). It is not a global statistic. In many other countries, Opera has 5, 10, 20, or 25% market share. In Russia, for example, we are ahead of Firefox with 25% market share. So you need to read market shares with a little more granularity to see the full picture. Look at each country individually. Don't believe the hype, is all we can say. As for whether Fennec can become a popular mobile browser - that remains to be seen. Right now, they are tied to Windows Mobile only, a limited OS with a small marketshare in the big picture. Opera Mini has nearly 20 million unique monthly users (worldwide) and Opera Mobile was shipped on more than 120 different mobile phone models last year.
6. There are many companies on the browser market competing to fullfill the user's needs. What makes Opera so unique on a PC or on a mobile phone, that we have to prioritize it over the others?
Speed, security, ease of use and innovations. Opera has a history of coming up with the most interesting innovations. Speed Dial, for example, was first launched by Opera and has since been copied by a number of browsers.
7. Opera seems to start to loose its undisputed leadership in the field of browser innovation. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't have some pretty interesting developement in progress, for example the GPU accelerated Opera you showcased some months ago. It's rumoured, that you are also working on a calendar function. How soon can we expect these developments getting ready? Is it possible, that Opera soon has a built-in instant messenger like it had before?
We can guarantee some very interesting innovations in the coming months. Wait and see...
8. Can we expect some expansion for already available functions, like the ability to choose which files to download from a torrent, synchronizing bookmarks on a per folder base, or including even more element in Opera Link?
We are always working to further develop our various features, including Opera Link and the torrent download capability. In Opera 10, you will see both new features and development of old features.
9. Many users think, that instead of focusing on tests with less practical importance like Acid3, you should take your time to make the most popular homepages and services more compatible with Opera (I mean Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook and pages like these). Will you give greater priority to the latter ones? Even if they are not fully standard compliants?
While we would like all services and sites on the Internet to be standard compliant, we recognize the need to support all popular services out there. We are working with the other vendors out there to make Opera more compliant. This is a major focus area for us.
10. How do you see the future of Internet and Opera in the next 3-5 years? What services and habits do you think will evolve, what will be new, and what will disappear completely as it exists now?
Good question. We believe in a future where everyone connects to One Internet. We will see the fall of special versions of the Internet (e.g. WAP and .mobi) and we will see more and more devices going online. Our experience is that people want the same services on their mobile phone as on their PC. This means that we should make it easy for people to connect to their content or services, regardless of device.
Regards/Vennlig hilsen/Kær kvedja...
Jon S. von Tetzchner
Opera's Vision: http://www.opera.com/company/vision/