A recent Slashdot story on Opera seems to indicate that we are in trouble because our third quarter report showed red numbers. It goes on to say how Firefox could threaten Opera, being free and all.
What most of the Slashdot comments don't seem to reflect is the fact that our revenues are higher than ever, and still growing. They don't seem to understand that Opera has been around for nearly a decade, and that free browsers have existed all along without Opera going out of business. Also, Opera is actually a free download. You can use it completely for free in ad-sponsored mode.
I think the Slashdot story kind of show the way that big headlines are made, but they don't always reflect reality. While the numbers were in red in Q3, as opposed to the first half of the year, this is a result of the company rapidly expanding to keep up with demand for our products. We have had to hire a lot of new people to be able to deliver products, and this is actually a good thing. So it might lead to a slight loss in Q3 and possibly Q4 of this year, but the return should more than make up for this.
It is odd how many newspapers and the Slashdot story focus on the weak dollar and marketing as our primary explanation for the loss, when I think the Q3 presentation made it pretty clear that it was primarily because we are hiring, but that there are other contributing factors as well. I guess explanations that make sense often don't make the best headlines…
I can assure everyone that everything is going according to plan, and that this was a strategic move to secure future revenue. Opera is not going away any time soon.
If you'd like to see the numbers for yourself, such as the growing PC and mobile revenues (despite what recent articles and Slashdot postings may have you believe), have a look at the third quarter report for 2004.
In other news, new Opera 7.60 previews are available for testing, with voice browsing and a more streamlined user interface, and http://www.opera.com has gotten a facelift.