Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and former CEO of Opera Software, is back in the browser game with a new startup. It's called Vivaldi Technologies, of which Tetzchner is also the co-founder and CEO of, and he's just made a technical preview of his Vivaldi browser available to the public. While still early in development, it's already fleshed out with features that may attract Opera fans, like mouse gestures and a speed dial interface for displaying your favorite tabs on the new tabs page.
A ferocious free-for-all among the top web browsers
The landscape is evolving and you can either change with it or be left behind. This is the position browser makers find themselves in as cloud computing and touch interfaces take center stage, as Windows 8 with its vastly overhauled UI continues to wiggle into more homes and businesses around the world, and as web developers push increasing amounts of rich content at site visitors.
Note: This article was originally featured in the December 2013 issue of the magazine.
The industry needs a better way to survey software
Now that January is in the rear view mirror, we're presented with our first opportunity to see which browsers are off to a promising start in 2014 and which ones are destined to be also-rans. The problem with attempting to do so is the lack of reliable data. To show you what we mean, let's first look at data from NetApplications, which has Internet Explorer in a dominant position with a 58.21 percent share of the browser market. Looking at the numbers, IE is pretty much untouchable.
It's the dawn of a new era for Opera Software. The Scandinavian browser maker just finalized its Opera 15.0 browser, but more than just a version upgrade, this latest release is packing a brand new engine underneath the hood. Pop the top and you'll no longer find Presto working its magic, as Opera Software decided to switch to Google's Chromium-based Blink rendering engine, which is a fork of WebKit.
Opera isn't uber popular on the desktop, though it's been able to spread its wings on mobile. The same can be said for Google's Android platform (which makes sense, considering Android is a mobile platform). If you want to mash these two together, feel free to do so starting today. Opera for Android is now officially launched for free from Google Play, Opera Software announced on Tuesday.
Conflicting data makes it difficult to gauge the browser landscape.
Depending on which data collection service you trust the most, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is either wiping the floor with Google's Chrome browser, or getting spanked by the relative newcomer. Starting with the former, NetMarketShare has IE way out in the lead with a 55.81 percent share of the desktop browser market, virtually unchanged from last month and up a little more than a percentage point from a year ago.
Windows 8 may be struggling, but Internet Explorer is thriving.
For years Internet Explorer has been easy to pick on, but for once the Redmond based software giant is bucking the trend. Market share for Internet Explorer has reached an 18-month high, and it seems to have done so largely at the expense of Google Chrome. In February IE climbed 0.68 points to 55.82 percent. Chrome dropped 1.21 percent, and Firefox rocketed above 20 percent to settle at 16.27 and 20.12 percent respectively.
Performance based earn-out payments over the next three years could make this deal worth $155 million.
Opera Software today announced that it has acquired Skyfire Labs, a rival in the mobile browser space, in a deal that could be worth as much $155 million when all the checks are written. The Norwegian browser maker agreed to pay $50 million in cash and stocks upfront (including $8 million in cash on the Skyfire balance sheet), and will also make performance based earn-out payments over the next three years that could ultimately value the deal at $155 million.
Opera is pulling its Presto browser engine and replacing it with WebKit.
Opera Software today put the world on notice that its Presto rendering engine will be making a disappearing act. Going forward, Opera will make a "gradual transition" to WebKit, as well as Chromium, for just about every upcoming browser release for smartphones and computers, the Norwegian browser maker announced today. The engine replacement was mentioned as an aside to the fact that Opera's collection of browsers across all products now boast 300 million users.
Google's Chrome team has reason to break out the bottles of champagne and fling corks through the office, something Dwight Schrute would never approve of. Why the celebration? Well, according to StatCounter, Chrome managed to unseat Internet Explorer to become the world's most used browser for the first time for a full calendar month in May. But if that's the case, why are corks flying in Microsoft's office as well?