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The Browser War Lights Up in Europe

December 6, 2000

The legendary Opera Web browser finally available for free

OSLO, Norway - Dec. 6, 2000

Opera Software today unleashed Opera 5.0 for Windows, making its Web browser available for free for the many millions of surfers around the world that are longing for a faster, better Internet experience. With this move the popular browser enters the reignited Browser War in full force as a third player besides AOL/Netscape and Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Opera has long been known has "the third browser" on Windows, with around 1.5 million users. This position was achieved while still charging users per license, and spending almost no resources on marketing. The new sponsor-supported version offers users a $39 value in return for having one single banner ad in the browser UI.

"Today Opera's status as just an alternative browser for the most Internet savvy users is ending, and we places ourselves firmly in the middle of the on-going Browser War," says Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. "From today everyone will have the opportunity to get the best Internet experience available completely for free," he ends.

The Opera Web browser has been developed over a period of 5 years into the fastest, best Internet experience available in the market. The speed is achieved both through how fast it renders pages, but also in its functionality.

"The ad-feature will not slow Opera down, nor diminish the Internet experience" says Hakon Lie, Chief Technology Officer, Opera Software, "The banner-sized ad is quite small, and they are downloaded into the browser only once a week, to be cached for later use. This ensures the recognizable Opera-speed in the browsing itself, as well as not too intrusive ads. Also, every necessary precaution has been taken to ensure privacy," he ends.

Opera Software enters the free-browser field intent on winning. Opera will bedistributed on millions of CDs accompanying computer magazines around the world, as well as by other software makers and some of the Internet's major Web sites.

"With their latest releases, Microsoft and AOL/Netscape have focused on strengthening the integration of their browser, portal and ISP services, putting them in direct competition with independent portals, ISPs and contents sites from around the world," says Dean Kakridas, Manager of Strategic Alliances, "This offers a pure browser developer like Opera Software great opportunities to serve these companies fully customized, co-branded browsers versions of its browser. Any company that is brand-conscious, traffic-hungry and content-rich will find the Opera browser a valuable tool to further serve its user-base," he ends.

On installation, Opera defaults to the Sponsored mode. However, the user always has the option of switching to the Paid/ Registered mode and turn off the ad experience and the communication with the advertising service. The cost to do so remains at $39, with various discounts applying.


With the release of Opera 5.0 for Windows so close to the version 4.0 release at the end of June this year, Opera Software signals a much quicker pace of development. Opera 4.0 for Windows was released end of June 2000, and was a great success with over 1 million downloads in the first two weeks.

Powerful Features for the Best Internet Experience

Opera offers several benefits over its competitors for a better Internet experience:

  • Fast rendering of pages. Opera is the fastest full-featured browser on the market today.
  • Easy keyboard navigation. Opera's easy keyboard shortcuts save time as well as benefit people with disabilities.
  • Instant toggling of image and documents settings. For even faster browsing, images can be turned on/off with just the press of a key.
  • Multiple windows support. Inside Opera, users may browse in several windows at once, without straining system resources.
  • High quality Zooming. Opera users can zoom in on a page up to a 1000%, be it text or images.
  • Resume download. In the transfer window, downloads can be resumed if interrupted.
  • Small size. Opera is only a 1.95 MB download (Adding Java is a one-time 7 MB download) so updating to the latest version available is always fast and easy.
  • Integrated news, mail, search and Instant Messaging. New in the 5.0 version is a powerful search capability, as well as an Instant Messaging client. In the search feature, users can easily migrate between the most popular search engines, and search for terms, domain names, music, Mp3s, images, video, audio, stock quotes, books or company information.
  • The newly integrated Instant Messaging client offers users the possibility to chat with all ICQ users.

Standards Compliant

Opera continues its commitment to the standards as laid out by the W3C. Opera 5.0 for Windows support the following technologies: 128-bit encryption, TLS 1.0, SSL 2 and 3, CSS1 and CSS2, XML, HTML 4.01, HTTP 1.1, ECMAScript, JavaScript 1.3, experimental support for DOM and WAP/ WML.

Opera has built in plug-in support. Opera supports Netscape's API, making it easy for developers to migrate between the two platforms.

Sponsor Mode with the Users in Mind

Opera's new Sponsored mode is designed to provide users with the best possible advertising experience. Ads appear one at a time in the browser UI, and their categories are easily modified in the Advertising section in Preferences. The goal is to serve advertising that users will want to see, akin to letting users turn on the TV and choose to see for example just car commercials.


Opera Software has implemented strict guidelines to ensure that the ads are not unnecessarily distracting or offensive. Advertisements with sound, offensive content and/or language are not allowed.

Protecting Privacy

Opera Software is also taking steps to protect the privacy of personal information. Users are not required to provide any up-front profiling information in order to receive the new Opera Web browser. On a purely voluntary basis, users will be asked to profile themselves in the browser itself so that the advertising they receive will be more relevant. This profile information is not personally-identifying, and it will not be shared with any third parties. These demographics will only be used for targeting advertising. More information on privacy.


Beginning today, Opera 5.0 for Windows is available for download at Opera Software plans to localize the new 5.0 release into other languages, and support non-Western characters by Q1 2001.


New Features in Opera 5.0 for Windows

New functionality in the 5.0 release includes: Integrated search and Instant Messaging, support for new JavaScript versions, mail and stability, improvements in memory usage and accessibility to different Web sites.


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About Opera Software

Opera Software ASA is an industry leader in the development of Webbrowsers for the desktop and embedded markets, partnering withcompanies such as IBM, AMD, Symbian, Canal+ Technologies, Ericsson,Sharp and Lineo (now a division of Embedix). The Opera browser hasreceived international recognition from end users and the industrypress for being faster, smaller and more standards-compliant than otherbrowsers. Opera is available on Windows, Mac, Linux/Solaris, OS/2,Symbian OS and QNX. Opera Software ASA is a privately held companyheadquartered in Oslo, Norway. Learn more about Opera at

About Opera

Opera enables more than 350 million internet consumers worldwide to connect with the content and services that matter most to them. Opera also helps publishers monetize their content through advertising and advertisers reach the audiences that build value for their businesses, capitalizing on a global consumer audience reach that exceeds 1 billion.

Opera is a trademark of Opera Software AS.