Opera Gives Away 1.6 Million Browsers - InformationWeek

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9/23/2005
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Opera Gives Away 1.6 Million Browsers

The company is claiming that over a million and a half copies of the Opera browser have been downloaded since the application was offered up free to any taker on Tuesday.

Over a million and a half copies of the Opera browser have been downloaded since the application was offered up free to any taker on Tuesday, the company claimed on its Web site.

Tuesday, Opera released version 8.5 of its for-free browser, and removed the banner ads that had separated it from the $29 Opera Pro.

According to Opera, the download rate is double that during April, when the Norwegian company debuted version 8. By the count of its server logs, a majority of the downloads were initiated by Microsoft Internet Explorer users.

That's no shock, since even as its popularity has declined over the last year, IE's market share remains at over 86 percent, according to NetApplications. Firefox, the second-most-popular browser, had an 8.3 percent share.

Prior to the release of 8.5, Opera was ranked as the fifth-most used browser, and accounted for less than 1 percent of those used to access the Internet.

"The success of our free browser proves the world is ready for a fresh option," said Opera chief executive Jon S. von Tetzchner in a statement.

The rush for Opera, said U.K.-based Web performance measuring firm Netcraft, has overloaded some Opera servers. Thursday, one of several Opera mirror sites -- get.opera.com -- was unavailable for stretches or significantly slowed under the download demand.

Opera 8.5 can be downloaded from the company's Web site.

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