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Opera Aims at Becoming Number 1 Browser in Georgia

13/04/2009 08:16 (1836 Day 22:06 minutes ago)

The FINANCIAL -- Georgia is estimated as one of the fastest growing countries in the view of internet browsers assimilation. Jon S. von Tetzchner, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Opera, talked about the company’s strategies in order to absorb more shares on the world and local, Georgian market. 



Opera started in 1994 as a research project inside Norway’s largest telecom company, Telenor. Within a year, it branched out into an independent development company named Opera Software ASA. Today, Opera Software develops the Opera Web browser. Opera’s main business strategy is to provide a browser that operates across devices, platforms and operating systems, and can deliver a faster, more stable and flexible Internet experience than its competitors.


“The two of us founding Opera used to work at Telenor Research. Telenor is the biggest Norwegian Telco. Before founding Opera we were working on web technologies at Telenor, setting up the first web server in Norway (one of the first 100 worldwide), setting up the Intranet at Telenor (before the term Intranet existed) and generally working on web technologies. Before that again, we made a word processor for the ODA document format. We learned a few things from that, like the importance of small code...”


Opera and Opera Mini are free browsers. Users do not pay for their use. “We have deals with content companies, such as Google, Yahoo ! and Yandex. When end users use these services in Opera, we get our share of the revenues generated. This enables us to provide Opera for free to end users,” Jon S. von Tetzchner told The FINANCIAL.


Q. According to your figures and statistics in many CIS countries the number of users of Opera Mini has sharply increased. While in Georgia the service is still at a low level. What do you think is the reason for this?


A. Actually Opera Mini usage has increased 780% in Georgia during the last 12 months! This makes Georgia one of the fastest growing countries. Given that many countries have a bigger population than Georgia, it comes further down the list when it comes to the number of users using Opera Mini, but I am sure it is high when referring to percentage of the population!


In terms of Opera Mini, more and more users are choosing us, just like they do when using Opera on their desktop. Our market share is very high in Georgia, both for Opera on desktops and Opera Mini. This growth has come through the great Opera community.


Q. When Microsoft in 1995 launched a new version of web browser Internet Explorer 3.0 it was fined because of its aggressive methods for occupying the market and unfair ways of fighting. Can you talk more concretely about what kind of unfair methods were used and what kind of schemes companies since developed to deal with competition in the internet provider sphere?


A. Now this is a big question. Microsoft was never fined, but clearly they have been under the scrutiny of competition authorities in the US and EU for quite some time because of how they dealt with the market and the EU is currently looking into the matter.


Q. What kinds of methods do you consider unfair and which are permitted when competing?


A. I believe the law is pretty clear on the subject. Certain rules apply when you have a monopoly
position like Microsoft has in the operating system space. Using that position to gain a monopoly position in another market is illegal.


Q. For a long time Internet Explorer was a monopolist on the web browsers market. How did they reach this position? Was it down to the commercial strength of Microsoft or just technological leadership; did they truly offer the best service to customers?


A. I believe it is fairly clear that Microsoft would not have their current position in the browser market without the bundling of Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system.


Q. While working on the 8th version of Internet Explorer Microsoft improved its functions. It
better satisfied modern demands and had a higher speed. What are the modern demands of internet browsers? Explain what kind of functions are currently the most demanded?


A. People are spending more and more time working with their browsers. This means that the browser needs to be fast and effective. It is a myth that computer networks are very fast. Making the most of current networks and hardware is very important. This is one place where Opera continues to excel.


Other important functions include multiple tabs, sessions, zoom, fit-to-window, image load control, etc. All functions that Opera has had for a while.


Opera is lean as it runs on limited hardware and it makes the most of the networks. It also makes the user more effective through the use of many useful functions, such as sessions, the Wand, zoom, etc. We will continue to work hard on improving Opera. The feedback from our community is crucial and we are listening. Speed continues to be most important. Not only speed in artificial tests, but real speed in real use.


Q. What is the advantage of Opera in comparison with your competitors?


A. As a small company competing with big companies, we quickly learned to focus on our end users and how we best satisfy their needs. We focus a lot on the speed of operation. The Opera browser is known to be a lot faster, in particular on slower networks and on slower computers, but in general as well. We also innovate a lot, which the list above is an example of.


Q. What share of the total market does Opera occupy and how do you plan to increase this number?


A. Our market share varies a lot from country to country. Georgia is in fact one of our best markets and our market share here is above 40%. We are eager to grow, however, and we do that by focusing on the end user and our community and continuously innovating.


Q. How has the world economical crisis affected the web browser business?


A. So far we have been doing just fine.


Q. What are you doing to make your service popular worldwide?


A. We spend a lot of time on spreading the word. Our community is a big part of that. We visit universities worldwide and we give talks. We are also continuing to grow across the board, on desktops, on mobiles, but also on other devices. Opera is now available on hundreds of phones, on Philips TVs, on Nintendo game consoles, on Archos media players, in Ford cars, etc.

All of this helps increase our visibility out there. As such we also had more than 130 million downloads of Opera products last year from our site alone.


Q. What is the percentage of Opera and Opera Mini users in Georgia? (Please provide figures)


A. When it comes to Opera, 3rd party statistics indicate that we have more than a 40% market share in Georgia. In fact some indicate that we are the number 1 browser here. Opera Mini is clearly the most popular mobile browser in Georgia.


19. Which are most popular websites in Georgia?


A. Based on our Opera Mini statistics, these are our numbers:;;;;;;; Yahoo .com;;  Odnoklasniki is doing well in many CIS countries, but it is often difficult to know what triggers it.


Q. Why has not become so popular in Georgia?


A. We are finding significant differences in general between countries. Sometimes a service just becomes very popular in one country, while not in others, although quite often there are regional ties, which we can see with both Vkontacte and Odnoklasniki cases.


Q. Which are the most popular mobile phone brands in Georgia that use the Opera Mini browser?


NA. Nokia 6300; Nokia N73; Nokia 6233; Nokia N70; Nokia 5310; Nokia 3110c; Nokia 6120c;

Sony Ericsson K750i; Nokia N72; Nokia 6500s. From this information it would appear that Nokia is doing really well!


Q. What are your expectations for 2009? By how many percents will the user numbers of browsers Opera and Opera Mini increase in Georgia?


A. Our goal is to continue our growth in Georgia. We are delighted to be the number 1 browser on both desktops and mobiles and our goal is to continue increasing our user base here!


Written By Madona Gasanova



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