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Free Opera

09/20/05

The company that produces the Opera branded web browser has retracted the requirement that users who download the free version of their product permit advertising to be displayed in part of the toolbar whenever they use the application. Opera Software cites strong growth in its userbase for the decision, one which it hopes will generate a more loyal following, perhaps one that will pay to upgrade with future versions of the software. Currently, users have the option of paying an annual $29 fee for premium support services such as installation and migration assistance. Opera Software also charges a $29 for many of its mobile browser licences.

This recent move in distribution policy is likely to increase the Opera browser's reach beyond its traditional "techie" base. Opera is already a leading application for small-screen devices such as PDAs and mobile phones because of its minimal resource requirements and advanced scaling options. That, when combined with an expected growth in market share of traditional PC internet users, reinforces the need to design websites that are compatible with Opera's rendering tendencies.

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