Opera’s accelerating growth on the desktop

As we are looking back on 15 years of Opera on the desktop (the Web is 20 years old), we can make the observation that Opera's growth on the desktop is accelerating.

According to both one of the replies to your questions to Jon and as a recent video interview (this part 2. You can also watch part 1 and 3), Opera's desktop user base grew by 55% in 2007 and 67% in 2008.

We have also reached about 40 million desktop users, up from 30 million at the end of 2008, and 35 million in February or March (which apparently translated into a global market share of 2-3% at the time, based on the total number of users online across the world). …

The release of Google Chrome, which some feared would be the death of Opera on the desktop (it's the same story every time a new competitor enters the market :rolleyes:), actually helped Opera's growth, according to the video interview. On the other hand, Chrome may not have been so lucky despite Google's dominating position in online advertising and ads all over the Web. Opera remains ahead of Chrome, if browser statistics are to be believed.

But perhaps Chrome is undercounted the same way Opera seems to be in some statistics?

Opera as a desktop browser was born 15 years ago, but has only been free of charge for about 3 and a half years. A global market share of about 3% after 15 years may not sound very impressive, but it wasn't until the desktop browser was released for free that we actually opened up to the mass-market. Before that, Opera was definitely mostly a niche product.

So while Opera might be 15 years old, the current market share figures don't reflect 15 years of Opera. They mainly reflect the last 3.5 years.

And while Opera's global market share may seem low, there are indications that we are fairly strong in Europe. In fact, we may even be much bigger than anyone might think in certain parts of the world.

Opera 10 and 11 will probably help us grow even more.


31 thoughts on “Opera’s accelerating growth on the desktop

  1. This is the first time I hear someone actually naming it "Opera 11". It sounds strange and far away.

  2. It sounds strange and far away.

    I am guessing Opera 11 in about 5 or 6 years maybe moreI am going to watch the rest of the Turbo Interviews later

  3. Opera 11..blah..i got lost in my thoughts thinking about what I may be doing when its gonna be released!I would certainly be done with college and all.

  4. Anonymous writes:40 million, you're dreaming I guess. More like 2.5 million and most of them use IE more

  5. Anonymous writes:

    I think you should rename the Browser. i mean Google has chrome and Mozilla has firefox, and cmon both sound a lot better then Opera.Reason 1: Its not a cool name :DReason 2: Erhm the Oprah show.. the name sounds the same and the show is Gay :PReason 3: and the Opera (singing entertainment) is gay to.So i think by renaming you will gain marketshare.

  6. 40 million, you're dreaming I guess. More like 2.5 million and most of them use IE more

    We can actually count the number of users based on, for example, automatic checks for updates. So no, 40 million is not a dream. You are just in denial 🙂

  7. Asa Dotzler writes:

    Haavard, do you have a unique identifier in each Opera browser so that you can tell precisely how many users you have or are you just estimating based on an update check interval? If you're just counting a day's worth of update checks (assuming Opera browsers ping home no more than once per day,) how many of those do you see and what multiplier do you use to estimate "regularly active users" (is that "monthly active users?)- A

  8. Asa Dotzler writes:

    Is that another way of saying that you don't know or that you're simply not going to answer? I've read in a Google report that your update system checks once a week but there's no good cite on that and it seems quite wrong to me for a security update check.- A

  9. Mozzy writes:

    Asa: Maybe Haavard is trying to figure why he should show you the courtesy of replying to your question when you blatantly ignores him when he asks you questions on your blog..Seriously.. Stop being a dick!

  10. Asa Dotzler writes:

    I found it: "Opera, using a fixed 'once per week' schedule for updates, offers no control to the end user and, according to the report, will force a complete reinstall of the browser to apply the update. This, in addition to the many steps required by the user when they update, means most Opera users are often behind in patching."http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/200919/3594/Report-Using-silent-updates-boosts-browser-security?page=2So if Opera has a weekly update check, then is the 40 million how many people connect in a week?

  11. Anonymous writes:

    "Opera browser users apparently don’t update frequently. After three weeks of a new release, a disappointing maximum of 24% active daily users of Opera 9.x have the newest Opera browser installed. It’s a pity that 76% of Opera 9.x users currently don’t benefit from the security improvements and new features of new Opera versions within three weeks of its release. If some engineering time were spent on increasing update effectiveness instead of working on new features, this would eventually benefit many more users. We also recognize an outlier, namely Opera 9.61, which got replaced after nine days of its release."http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=3316

  12. Asa, it would be nice if you could answer my questions here:http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2008/12/opera_plans_aut.html#comment-2612515If you are going to demand answers from others, the least you can do is to answer questions yourself.It's interesting that you keep talking about automatic updates, and yet you can't answer some simple questions about claims you made about alleged statements from Opera employee.Your Mozilla PR training certainly taught you to stay on message, though. That's for sure.Note: As a reminder, this blog post is about Opera's accelerating growth on the desktop. Regardless of the method used, the numbers are pretty clear.

  13. Asa Dotzler writes:

    forgot this bit:"Overall, Opera scored the lowest of the tested browsers. Three weeks after a new release, only 24 percent of Opera users were updated to the newest version."

  14. If those statistics are Net Applications, you already know that they are extremely unrelable. It's interesting that you are making claims based on numbers you know are completely false.The only embarrassing thing here is that you are knowingly making claims you know are false, and that you are demanding answers from others, and you keep posting new off-topic comments all the time, but you refuse to answer these simple questions:http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2008/12/opera_plans_aut.html#comment-2612515Why is it that you cannot reply to my comment on your blog?

  15. Asa, your blog readers might jerk off whenever you quote net applications, but here you should be much more objective and courteous, because were not Mozilla fanboys, nor blinded by FUD.So, stop posting ridiculous stuff from net apps and off-topic quotes, and say something that makes sense (could be hard for you I know).

  16. Asa Dotzler writes:

    Haavard, you seem to be confused. I don't agree with your contention that Net Applications' statistics are unreliable. I happen to think they're quite reliable. I do believe that StatCounter statistics are a bit unreliable and I'm waiting for them to get a better track record before I start relying on their numbers. I don't think the comments I've made here are at all off-topic. They are either relevant to the original post or to your comments here. If my comments are off-topic, then sorry, but they were spurred by your off-topic post or comments 😉 And what's this question you keep asking me about from comments on my blog. I don't see what it is that you don't understand. – A

  17. Asa Dotzler writes:Oh and what's this "Mozilla PR training" you keep mentioning. I don't know of any PR training and I certainly haven't been given any. I'm just good like that 🙂

  18. Asa Dotzler writes:Oh, i see now. You're getting nit-picky about my phrasing (in a blog post complimenting you all!!) Jeeze. Are you a three year old?

  19. Asa: I have shown Net Applications to be highly unreliable. You haven't addressed any of the facts I have presented about their history of unreliable and manipulated statistics.At least StatCounter doesn't have a history like that. In fact, StatCounter's global market share for Opera matches the figure I'm referring to in the blog post.You were complimenting Opera? Let's see what you wrote:Originally posted by Asa Dotzler:

    The response I got from members of the Opera team was that with all their different mobile platforms and the bandwidth restrictions that some of those platforms have, it didn't make sense to develop and deploy an auto-update mechanism. Apparently getting security updates in the hands of its desktop users was just not priority enough for them to do the work necessary to either find a solution for their mobile environments, or fork that bit of code over to just the desktop.

    It's pretty obvious that your blog post was meant as anything but a compliment. You quote clearly meant to put Opera down.After all, you are making quite specific claims about Opera's official position on automatic updates, and since I couldn't remember having ever heard something like that from an official spokesperson I wondered if you were paraphrasing Hallvord. And not only did you seemingly distort Hallvord's comments, you claimed that there were several sources for your claim. So I asked for those.And as you can see, the paragraph ends with some FUD about Opera's priority for security updates. Apparently based on a single botched paraphrasing of a blog post where Hallvord specifically states that he wants automatic updates, which magically turns into several members of the Opera team?

  20. That's a very interesting analysis of Opera's growth on a 15-yr timeline, and on the Opera "no-charge" 3 1/2-year period, Haavard.I'm finding many new people that are open to trying Opera and are quite astonished by its real-world speed, upon first using it on their computer or phone. ;)I think speaking in terms of "total number of Opera users" is more informative than percent market share; 40M desktop Opera users is quite significant (along with the 23M Opera Mini/Mobile users on phones).@Asa:Do you EVEN have any self-awareness of your pettiness and childishness in public? And when Haavard asks you a fair-minded question from Dec. 11, you intentionally lie about Opera's comments and act like you didn't? Stop embarrassing yourself and your organization for all to see…Btw, I noticed Mozilla "whining" about Microsoft IE monopoly behavior in Windows 7. :p

  21. Asa Dotzler writes:

    kamealesh, be careful with your "whining" insults. Opera are the ones that set this whole MS monopoly behavior thing in motion. You end up looking pretty uninformed when you insult organizations putting their substantial weight behind Opera's complaints to the EU. – A

  22. Morep writes:

    Mozilla joined because Opera was brave enough to lead the way and speak up. It was safe for Mozilla to join and reap the rewards since Opera had taken all the flaming already.If Mozilla really wanted to make a difference they'd be more than just big words after someone else had done all the hard work.

  23. @Asa:"Facetious"…look it up. Glad to you see you guys joined in…finally; however tepid early on. Maybe with the new anti-trust division direction elucidated by Christine Varney recently, you may get brave and even notice that the same company stifling browser choice in the EU via monopoly bundling, does business in the US also. Web developers & unknowing users may appreciate that shift from a major-minor browser maker.Btw, did you agree with Brendan at Mozilla that "the Web doesn't really work on phones…? Hope that wasn't a strategy direction that you came up with. I'm sure after you tried Opera Mini/Mobile on your phone (or an iPhone), you changed your mind. ;)Any response yet on why you misrepresented Opera earlier…? Everyone's waiting…

  24. How many people, including people who doesn't change their home page on Firefox gets greeted by ''Install Chrome'' ad first thing in the morning?It is absolutely amazing that Mozilla people uses Chrome as an example of how bad Opera does on Desktop.Google, who is soon to get same treatment as MS in regard to monopoly charges (signals all over the place) advertises browser on World's number 1 page. It is NOT an indicator of success, it is non ethically advertising your application.I can say as a OS X user, I always see Safari stats as OS X usage share, while it is a good browser and not forced like IE. It is pre installed, not bad software and people already trust to Apple. So even if it has 100x market share of Opera (or Omniweb), I wouldn't care as a user of both browsers.Another thing… There has never been a security disaster happened to Opera users and sites refused to work with Opera has never been fixed (on host) so they will work on newer version. Basically, for an average user, there hasn't been a real big reason to update to latest and greatest Opera. So, if they ignore the updates, you can't blame Opera. I hate non updating people (including people who still runs OS X 10.5.0) but that is the reality.

  25. @llgaz: I was thinking the same thing about all the Chrome ads plastered on every tech and web developer-related site the last couple months. If it's not an anti-trust issue relating to online ad share, it's bordering on it.There is a good argument for silent security updates in desktop browsers, in my opinion, though. Doesn't necessarily have to be full-updates, but security components should be updated to protect users and the web, in general. Opera on mobile & devices, different story, as Haavard mentioned.

  26. Anonymous writes:Dotzler seems to be a bit of a laughing stock if you google his name. It's clear he is some form of Mozilla spin doctor/viral marketeer..

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