linked in facebook twitter rss

  • Interbrand
  • Brandchannel

your chance!
your chance!


rising star
by Sultan Omar
December 30, 2002

It's a classic David versus Goliath saga. A Norwegian inventor inspired by the vision to provide the best Internet experience hopes to stage a coup in the web browser market by threatening the monopoly of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Classified by purists as another Netscape in the making, Opera is the brainchild of Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software ASA. Von Tetzchner developed Opera Software with his colleague Geir Ivarsoy while working at Norwegian telecom company, Telenor, in 1994. A year later von Tetzchner started independent development company Opera Software ASA, which offers the high-quality Opera web browser, available for a number of platforms, operating systems and embedded Internet products.

Opera's key business objective was to earn global leadership in the desktop and embedded products' market. Von Tetzchner's optimism was based on the premise that people never bought IE; it's bundled with the Windows operating system, which makes it less of an active choice and more of a default. (Microsoft's bundled browser also helps contribute to the demise of Netscape Navigator.)

Unfazed by Microsoft's broader footprint and corporate clout, von Tetzchner decided to differentiate his browser by making it compatible with multiple platforms rather than just Windows. He set out to convince technology giants of Opera's pre-eminence over Internet Explorer and clinched licensing deals with Palm, iMode, Nokia, Motorola, Sony, Matsushita and Ericsson. He also entered into an exclusive arrangement with Nokia-backed Symbian wherein all the software provided by the company to handheld communication devices would carry the embedded Opera software.

Although its market share is only a little more than five percent in the desktop segment (with about 35,000 downloads of its software daily), Opera is the fastest growing browser today in that space, due to its compatibility with other platforms. However, Microsoft remains the clear leader while Netscape continues to decline.

So what does Opera have over Internet Explorer? Opera is fast – noticeably faster than IE on a dial-up connection and even via new generation cable modems. In fact, it may seem as if your Internet connection has been mysteriously upgraded. Once in the browser, right clicking on highlighted words or selected text allows the user to search in all of the major search engines, consult a dictionary or thesaurus, send email, and even translate into five languages.

Preferences allow the user to customize Opera to allow pop up windows, open them in the background, or suppress them altogether -- surfers can toggle between these options during a browsing session simply by pressing F12. Additionally, Opera obviates the need to open a separate window for a new page. The taskbar at the bottom will show only Opera, not a button for each Opera window one has opened; within Opera another taskbar showing all the pages that are open. It's neater, tidier, better.

Opera makes surfing on smaller monitors and laptops easier by incorporating a toolbar that features a drop-down box with percentages in it. This will reduce the size of the page being viewed so that the user can zoom in or out eliminating the need for horizontal scrollbars. Mastering the mouse allows the user to do all sorts of things: open windows, close windows, go forward, go backward – even resume an interrupted download. And nicknames can be assigned to favorites, which Opera will recognize. The crux of it all – Opera is endlessly customizable.

The brand has entered into partnerships and alliances worldwide with AMD, Canal+ Technologies, i3 micro, Insignia and Macromedia to develop browser technologies. It is also looking at deploying browser technologies for vertical applications to develop cost-effective end-to-end solutions. In 1998, Opera introduced a premium mail service Operamail and a portal, MyOpera.

In all its endeavors, Opera's business strategy remains compelling – to provide a technology that operates across devices, platforms and operating systems, and delivers a faster, more stable and flexible Internet experience than its competitors. Although Opera stands to gain revenues by virtue of its captive clientele, its earnings have suffered on account of W-CDMA based (wireless protocol), 3G technology not finding many takers in Europe.

Opera is fast, functional, saves memory and is available in many languages for a multitude of platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux/Solaris, OS/2, BeOS, EPOC, and QNX). Through the years, Opera has received numerous awards for its outstanding browser, and the over 15 million downloaded and installed versions worldwide reflect its popularity. The company, which was last valued at US$ 170M (E 168.3M) when venture capital firm Four Seasons invested in it, has no plans to sell out.

Still, von Tetzchner knows that Microsoft will not take things lying down and will launch a strong riposte. But he appears as unruffled as he is committed to developing breakthrough technology and products. Considering Microsoft's recent predicament with the antitrust lawsuit, Opera could prove to be its next nemesis. Goliath in this contest has a lot of catching up to do to dismantle the new age David.


Sultan Omar is a Business Development executive with a leading architecture company. He has an MBA in Marketing from the Amity Business School and lives in New Delhi.

 commenting closed Add Social Bookmark bookmark  print
 suggest topic  recommend ( 7 )  email

  brandchannel profile archive   2011  |  2010  |  2009  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  | 2002  |  2001
Dec 16, 2002 The Lord of the Rings - towers -- Brad Cook
  The Lord of the Rings brand is as snug as a hobbit in a hobbit hole, but will the brand survive beyond the box office?
Dec 9, 2002 UNICEF - unites -- Robin D. Rusch
  Global non-profit UNICEF marks its birthday with a revised and defined brand roll out.
Dec 2, 2002 Coca-Cola - a classic -- Brad Cook
  How did Coca-Cola manage to get the whole world in its hand?
Nov 25, 2002 Pep - recharged -- Ron Irwin
  Retail chain store Pep celebrates a half-century in Africa.
Nov 18, 2002 Royal Selangor - breaking the mold -- D. Sauer
  Malaysian brand Royal Selangor shows slow but steady progress as it occupies the top shelf along with other top Asian brands.
Nov 11, 2002 WWE - get the 'F' out -- Dave Liss
  World Wrestling Entertainment gets smacked down but remains in the ring.
Nov 4, 2002 Benihana - chop chop -- Randall Frost
  Benihana tries to appeal to a western palate.
Oct 28, 2002 Maruti - driving a nation -- Sultan Omar
  What drives Maruti’s success in India?
Oct 21, 2002 Star Trek - lost in space -- Brad Cook
  Star Trek drifts in and out of a black hole.
Oct 14, 2002 Blekkulf - eco ink -- Michael Standaert
  Norway's Blekkulf swims south where European children embrace the eco-brand.
Oct 7, 2002 San Miguel - hops -- Abram D. Sauer
  Tap into the incredible success behind Filipino brand San Miguel.
Sep 30, 2002 Nintendo - leaps and bounds -- Brad Cook
  Can cartoon characters carry the Nintendo brand through the 21st century?
Sep 23, 2002 Nautica - sea worthy -- Abram D. Sauer
  Lifestyle brand Nautica sails on.
Sep 16, 2002 Emmperative - imperative? -- Fiona Harvey
  How did P&G’s enterprise marketing management software Emmperative fail?
Sep 9, 2002 EV Global Motors - stalled -- Randall Frost
  Has EV Global Motors lost its power?
Sep 2, 2002 Elidel - covers the globe -- Edwin Colyer
  Novartis hits the global stage with a one-identity-fits-all approach for Elidel.
Aug 26, 2002 Kreepy Krauly - sucks -- Ron Irwin
  The deeper Kreepy Krauly sinks, the stronger the brand emerges.
Aug 19, 2002 Callaway - driving the market -- Randall Frost
  How did Callaway link its name with respectability in such a relatively short period of time?
Aug 12, 2002 Game - leads the pack -- Ron Irwin
  Can Game win in its expansion plans across Africa?
Aug 5, 2002 Presto - huh? -- Evelyn Hafferty
  Nike attempts intrigue to attract the Gen Y crowd to its Presto launch. But is it ingenuous or just insipid?
Jul 29, 2002 Warner Bros. - what's up Doc? -- Brad Cook
  Now that Warner Bros. has passed into the AOL Time Warner conglomerate, is th-th-th-that all folks?
Jul 22, 2002 Famous Amos - making dough -- Randall Frost
  A lot of companies have stuck their hands in the cookie jar of Famous Amos and changed the brand formula from a gourmet cookie for the jet set to a commodity.
Jul 15, 2002 Electronic Arts - amazin' -- Brad Cook
  Through a new name, new competition, and new concepts, Electronic Arts remains MVP of the gaming world.
Jul 8, 2002 Cell C - connected -- Ron Irwin
  Cell C attempts to connect with the wireless market in South Africa.
Jul 1, 2002 - stacked -- Brad Cook transformed itself from the little bookstore on the corner to the mega-super-duper-full-of-stuff store that squats at the end of a monstrous parking lot.
Jun 24, 2002 Consignia - royal f *%# up -- Abram D. Sauer
  When the Post Office tried to cram Consignia through the traditional letterbox, Brits protested and sent the dogs to stamp it out.
Jun 17, 2002 Weber - smokin’ -- Ron Irwin
  With nearly 365 days of grilling weather per year, every day is Sunday for Weber Grills in South Africa.
Jun 10, 2002 ALDI - preiswert -- John Karolefski
  German retail chain ALDI keeps prices low to generate high revenue.
Jun 3, 2002 FIFA - goooal! -- Abram D. Sauer
  Will FIFA suffer from the same brand-destroying scandal that rocked the Olympic committee?
May 27, 2002 adidas - contender -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  German sporting goods brand, adidas, laces up its sneaks and gets out on the court to take on Nike.
May 20, 2002 Lustucru - saucy -- Jocelyne Henri
  French pasta brand Lustucru takes on Barilla and Panzani in a saucy cook off.
May 13, 2002 Star Wars - universal force -- Brad Cook
  As audiences queue worldwide to watch the next episode of Star Wars, we ask, What’s the big deal?
May 6, 2002 Gatorade - endures -- Brad Cook
  The Gatorade team has managed to rule the sports drink market for decades -- perhaps there’s something in their drink?
Apr 29, 2002 Leatherman - sharp -- Ron Irwin
  Leatherman enlists the old-fashioned values of customer support and quality product to carve a niche in the Sub-Saharan African market.
Apr 22, 2002 Napster - 9 lives -- Fred Burt
  Napster ruled because it broke the rules. How can Bertelsmann credibly own this brand?
Apr 15, 2002 Marvel Comics - super -- Brad Cook
  Holy history, Batman! Marvel Comics is in its sixth decade of performing superheroic feats.
Apr 8, 2002 Planet Hollywood - lost in space -- Abram D. Sauer
  Where does celebrity go to die? Planet Hollywood perhaps.
Apr 1, 2002 Atari - bonus round -- Brad Cook
  Atari loads up on quarters and heads back to the arcade to win our hearts all over again. Game over? Hardly.
Mar 25, 2002 Petit Bateau - full sails -- Jocelyne Henri
  Take a peek beneath the strategy at Petit Bateau to see how they managed to rescue the brand and attract an older generation.
Mar 18, 2002 Vertu - Upwardly mobile -- Patricia Tan
  Nokia’s new luxury phone, Vertu, is part Rolex, part BMW, part Jeeves. But can a handset brand support an $18,000 price tag?
Mar 11, 2002 Absolut - brilliance -- Ian Cocoran
  Absolut keeps on top of new media to continue its smart dialogue with the drinking public.
Mar 4, 2002 Mrs. Fields - cookin' -- John Karolefski
  Mrs. Fields has been cookin’ for 25 years; we sample her goods.
Feb 25, 2002 Vivian Lives - virtually -- Vivian Manning-Schaffel
  Looking for the perfect spokesperson to promote your brand to Gen Y? Why not create one out of thin air and call her Vivian Livingston?
Feb 18, 2002 ABSA bank - gaining interest -- Ron Irwin
  The Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (Absa) is investing in its brand to retain and attract both groups.
Feb 11, 2002 Ministry of Sound - still spinning -- Abram D. Sauer
  The UK’s Ministry of Sound takes on an MTV-like status as it moves from a club scene to a multimillion-pound brand.
Feb 4, 2002 Marmite - my mate -- Edward Young
  One man’s food is another’s axle grease. As Marmite celebrates its anniversary, we ask is the world ready for another 100 years?
Jan 28, 2002 Environ - wrinkle free -- Ron Irwin
  Environ projects an image as an exclusive product whose demand far outweighs its supply.
Jan 21, 2002 Just Born - a born sucker -- Abram D. Sauer
  After nearly a century of making candy, Just Born reaps over $100M a year and yet still promotes itself as a mom & pop brand.
Jan 14, 2002 H&M - Hot & Mod -- Abram D. Sauer
  H&M is hot, but focusing loyalty on price not product, forces the brand to compete with both low-end discount chains and chic designers.
Jan 7, 2002 Topps - trading on its heritage -- John Karolefski
  From penny gum sales to e-merchandising, we profile Topps Company, with over 60 years of delighting kids, big and small.