back to article Opera founder von Tetzchner: It's all gone to crap since I quit

"It's really sad, it's lost now," says Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner, reflecting on the fate of the company he left in 2011. Opera had made serious inroads in the Noughties embedding a browser into consumer products, where it was a pioneer, and had a sizeable following on both desktop and mobile. Its high performance …


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  1. Aoyagi Aichou

    Sad panda.

    That is so sad. Really, really sad that a company based on such great principles dropped so low. I am still running on Opera 12 as well since 19 has nothing to offer and there is no browser like Opera 12 (SeaMonkey is probably the closest, Otter is in way too early development stages). Curse the board for ruining my internet experience. Ruining a whole company, in fact.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      Re: Sad panda.

      Sad Cowturd too.

      Been using Opera since the late 90s, and it was always ahead of the other browsers.

      I'm still on 12.16 for the foreseeable future.

      Where to now?

      Suggestions on a postcard to the usual address...

    2. Mark Allen

      Re: Sad panda.

      There is a worrying chase for lowest common denominator now. A chase to dumb down all of our software. I've been using Opera since the 1990s because of the extra choices it gave me as the user.

      Too much is heading into the dumb-down route. Look at Win8, or even worse what has happened on the Apple Mac with Mavericks dumbing down the applications to be more stupid and iPad like. Removing features advanced users need and replacing it with an interface your granny can use instead.

    3. Infidellic_

      Re: Sad panda.

      I too am a sad panda. Still on Opera 12 at home, I'm using it less and less I get concerned about the lack of updates and potential vulns that won't be patched and the fact that it's also the last version with the mail client integrated. There was a big cry to ask Opera to open source Presto which would have been nice but it was never going to happen whilst customers were still licencing it for embedded products. Another one bites the dust :(

  2. Schultz

    He has a point

    Unfortunately, he has a point. I am writing this in a Chrome browser and I had been on Opera for more than a decade.

  3. Semtex451

    I, for one, wish Von Tetzchner all the best. Not quite sure where Vivaldi fits in, but I said that about the iPad and Facebook.

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


      I couldn't get Opera working in a previous iteration of Linux not sure what OS it was but I'm on Mageia now (and am having similar problems with Konqueror would you believe?)

      Anyway I too saw Opera going down the pan, I thought it was because the web was suffering from too much Google. Looks like I was write. (Just what is it with US government sites these days that has put most of them in bed with Google?

      (I must have missed that story.))

  4. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Yup, Opera has lost it. Tetzchner doesn't cover where it is that Opera has really lost it; innovation.

    Opera was always the innovator of the browser market. The competition always used to copy new Opera features and pretend they were their own. Even wrapped around Chromium instead of sticking with Presto Opera could continue to do that, but I can't think of Opera having pulled off anything like that for a few years now. Opera was one of those quality products which had a small, loyal, discerning user base. It was never going to be hugely popular, but since when was popularity any measure of quality? Now it's just another Chromium variant loyalty is on the wane and the discerning user is looking elsewhere.

    Sure their market share was never massive - something like 2.5% in 2011 - but it was stable, which meant an increasing user base. The steady decline since then both in share and total users will probably mean the Opera browser is no more in a few short years. Of course that decline could even accelerate should the board decide that the smaller user base justifies even less investment in development.

    It's a huge shame.

  5. Paul Webb

    Sad about Opera too but could be just the thing I'm looking for to escape the other usual suspects.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really happy with Opera 15+

    Opera finally works with all websites. That's more important than anything else...

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Re: Really happy with Opera 15+

      So you're not bothered about what it's like to actually use the browser? Or what features the browser has? Or....

      Your attitude is the reason the browser market will totally stagnate. You're probably that lowest common denominator mentioned above.

    2. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Really happy with Opera 15+

      Yes, that was my forever issue with them, for some reason they couldn't understand that while it would be the ideal way in reality websites WILL NOT change their lousy ways and the browser need to conform to lousy coding... from a consumer product company it was arrogance at its best, I think.

      1. Pookietoo

        Re: the browser need to conform to lousy coding

        Opera needn't conform to lousy coding - just switch to your backup browser for any site that causes problems. No browser deals perfectly with all sites, so you need to keep an alternative or two in reserve.

        1. Rafael L.

          Re: the browser need to conform to lousy coding

          "If a site doesn't works go to our competition!"

          Wow, very smart solution of yours.

        2. Levente Szileszky

          Re: the browser need to conform to lousy coding

          It's about the ratio - even Firefox v4-5 didn't have problems with sites, while Opera ALWAYS exhibited a lot of problems with a LOT of sites, simply out of arrogance eg for MANY YEARS they refuse to even support gzipped site content, only offering a download instead of actually loading the page... practically no other browser had such a dumb, arrogant, hard@ss policies toward online content like Opera had.

  7. Decade

    Almost done with Opera

    Well, I for one stopped using their browser when all the technically fascinating stuff became neglected afterthoughts, for example Opera Unite. Now, I'm still using Opera Mini on my phone, because the phone is just too weak to use a modern browser. I will stop as soon as I get a real smartphone.

    Goodbye, Opera.

    1. Aoyagi Aichou

      Re: Almost done with Opera

      Just out of curiosity, how is Mini not "real browser"?

      1. Chewi

        Re: Almost done with Opera

        Most of the work is done on their remote servers. What you're presented with is little more than an image map. Despite that, it never ceases to amaze me how much JavaScript it can handle - jQuery Mobile works very well. It also did wonders for the browser's performance and the pages loaded very quickly but these days, I find their servers to actually be slower than regular browsers. There hasn't been a new release of Opera Mini in forever because they've abandoned it for Opera Mobile. My initial impression of the new Blink-based Opera Mobile was very positive as it was slick as shit, even on my old Blade. I don't know what they did to it though because it runs like a total turd now.

        1. Aoyagi Aichou

          Re: Almost done with Opera

          Most of the work is done on their remote servers.

          Isn't that just when you enable Turbo? Pretty sure it is.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Almost done with Opera

            Isn't that just when you enable Turbo? Pretty sure it is.

            You're confusing Opera Mini with Opera Mobile. All Opera Mini requests are sent to a server to perform the request and compress the response, but Opera Mobile makes requests directly unless Turbo is enabled.

            1. Aoyagi Aichou


              Hah, that's ironic, I didn't switch over to Mini because of that... but clearly I forgot. Thanks for reminding me.

          2. Grease Monkey Silver badge

            Re: Almost done with Opera

            "None of the work is done on their remote servers unless for some unfathomable reason you enable turbo."

            There, fixed it for you.

            AFAIK turbo isn't on by default in any version.

            Turbo is probably quite a useful feature for a minority of users, but for most it's irrelevant. That, however, encapsulates Opera's attitude of old. They would develop features to solve problems for a fraction of users rather than ignoring minorities. Other browser vendors ignore minorities, and so do Opera now. (See reference to Linux above.)

            1. Rafael L

              Re: Almost done with Opera

              So they support minorities with Turbo/Off-road but don't support minorities at the same time (Linux AT THE MOMENT) and the conclusion is: "Opera changed they ignore minorities completely!1!!!!!111" ?????

  8. Chewi

    Linux support

    Sad panda? More like sad penguin. Although it was unfortunate to see Presto go, I accepted that keeping pace with the others was becoming increasingly difficult so I was open to the idea of switching to Blink. There are some strong opinions about Chrome but I think few could fault the engine. But then came the shock revelation that Linux was being left behind. They tell us we haven't been forgotten and some Linux users say they don't mind while the new browser is still finding its feet but I feel it's been far too long now. I'm still using Opera 12 but I don't think I'll be able to hold off switching for much longer and that would be a real shame. I've been an Opera user for 14 years and even paid for it back in the day.

    1. Aoyagi Aichou

      Re: Linux support

      Questions about Linux version are asked under every update blog post. No answers. I heard they just don't care about it for now. (I'd say it was obvious, heh)

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Linux support

        Every time they put an update about Opera on Facebook I would tackle them about the lack of a new version of Opera for Linux, and I too got the "We haven't forgotten we will get it out to you". How long has it been now? Must be at least 12 months, it's scandelous really.

        I've made the switch elsewhere, I'm using Iceweasel (can anyone smell my Debian?) and it's alright. It doesn't slow down on specific sites like Opera 12 would on Linux. But I miss Opera, I really really do. But if the company don't give a toss about my operating system, then no matter how much I love the browser, I can't use it.

      2. Rafael L

        Re: Linux support

        There are answers about Linux and you know that.

    2. flokie

      Re: Linux support

      I did try Opera 15 in a Win VM, so I'll stick to sad panda.

      The problem with switching engines is that Presto had unique features indeed. I don't think the fixed-width display can be replicated in Blink. Maybe I tried it too early, and I hope they've listened to some of the feedback and reintroduced bookmarks eg. but as far as I'm concerned they're just following instead of leading now and they have lost what made them unique, so I'm not even bothered by the lack of a Linux version.

      I still use Opera 12.16 for most websites, FF for some others, but yeah I know I'll have to find a better alternative sometime soon.

  9. AMBxx Silver badge

    Is just me, or is just a generic blog/discussion forum site?

    1. Levente Szileszky


      It seems to be nothing more than an attempt to save the audience of MyOpera forums (which is shutting down, another sign of demise.)

      1. Rafael L


        The FORUMS are NOT shutting down, only My Opera social network / mailing part. Get your facts right.

        1. Levente Szileszky


          Err, right but let's stop with the BS: actually the ONLY thing that's not shutting down is the forum, EVERYTHING ELSE is shutting down.

          And yes, Vivaldi is nothing but vT little pet project to take over the content:

  10. Hud Dunlap
    Thumb Up

    I am going to check out Vivaldi

    I have been looking for something like that. If memory serves Facebook make $170 per user. I am willing to spend $20 a month on site that allows me to do pretty much the same thing but doesn't invade my privacy.

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Re: I am going to check out Vivaldi

      I like the idea of an fb alternative that doesn't sell it's users' data. Unfortunately without a large user base it will die on its arse and I just can't see how Vivaldi is going to build that user base.

  11. dz-015

    How many staff??

    20 staff to run What on earth are they all doing?! Unless I've missed some crucial component, I'm quite sure a couple of friends and I could knock that up in a weekend.

    P.S. Have never used Opera. Tried it a couple of times over the years, thought it was horrible.

  12. Ant Evans


    Another ex loyal Opera user here. I used it because it had some security through obscurity value, and consistently the best interface. Compatibility issues gradually vanished as sites dropped IE 6. The list of useful features it had first is long. Plus, it had a killer feature: when you click Back in Opera, it goes back; it doesn't try to reload the frikkin internet.

    With a change of engine, Opera became just another browser, at which point I may as well use Firefox.

    I still use Mini, because it is, like Opera, marginally superior.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      "Plus, it had a killer feature: when you click Back in Opera, it goes back; it doesn't try to reload the frikkin internet."

      Indeed. Back to the previous page, just like it was, even POST forms filled out as they were. Presto's in-memory caching is really good.

      Another neat trick - HTML part of the page is shown quickly, without waiting for all those goddamn image servers and click analyzers.

      For 15 years of heavy usage, these probably amount to a few months of time saved.

  13. Chuckmeister2

    Spare Me

    Opera never rose above 2% because the world at large viewed it as crap. It was a convoluted mess of a suite right out of the last decade with every imaginable feature tossed into the mix making it infinitely customizable and at the same time unwieldy for the average user. it only appealed to a small cadre of geek users and its passing will hardly make a blip on the radar screen. Now the new browser "might" have some potential "if" it can distinguish itself early enough from Google's Chrome. That remains to be seen. It will lose many of the geek squad but that's of little concern. What it needs to do is attract a new user base; one that is closer to your average user.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: oh the little lamb

      Nope, the world are followers, they bitter pill that is Safari and Internet Explorer tastes a sickly sweet poison.

  14. Piro Silver badge

    Opera Classic for android..

    Is still the fastest browser on the platform for feel.

    Smooth on almost anything.

    The newer Opera Mobile with WebKit is a goddamn sluggish mess, with an awful UI.

    I'll take the buttons at the bottom, please, that's where my thumb is.

    1. Rafael L

      Re: Opera Classic for android..

      And you can place the buttons at the bottom, just look at the goddamn settings!

  15. John 104


    Am I missing something here? I tried Opera a few times and it was rubbish. Slow, awkward, and generally not pleasant to use. Then they started charging for what everyone else was giving away for free. What is the draw then?

    And this guy is also out of touch with reality. Mozilla? FF is a POS and is buggy. It stopped being the "good" alternative browser years ago.

    1. captain veg Silver badge


      What you appear to be missing is a firm grip on reality.

      Opera has been free as in free beer for years. And before that you could pay for it (I did) or just go full-screen to hide the ads.

      It was never slow. It was often the fastest out there.

      You might or might not have liked the default UI, but just about every aspect of it could be changed. It was mouse gestures that got me hooked.


    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Wut?

      Still a better browser than Internet Explorer

  16. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    Oh and what about mail.

    The built in mail client in Opera used to be just about the best mail client around with some very useful features. When they separated the mail client from the browser they took out the useful features so it seems to be little different from the built in Windows mail client.

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Mail

      Haha, the mail client was the biggest PoS I've seen in a long time - they REFUSED to support HTML mails FOR MANY YEARS, despite countless forum topics.

      Opera was tone def and arrogant, no wonder they couldn't build a significant user base thus sustainable business model.

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Mail

        "Haha, the mail client was the biggest PoS I've seen in a long time - they REFUSED to support HTML mails FOR MANY YEARS, despite countless forum topics."

        Good on them. HTML does not belong in email.

        1. Levente Szileszky

          Re: Mail

          Says who? :D

          BUt hey, thanks for showcasing just how out of touch Opera devs & their miniscule fanbase were... vT was always the living embodiment of this kind of arrogance.

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Got 12.11 here which I use for important sites I don't quite trust firefox with.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sad but true.

    Presto alongside the Firefox engine were the last two not crapping on users.

    There is hope for Webkit/Blink on desktop and Android but Presto meant they were unique. Now there is only Firefox chugging along not quite knowing how to wade through all their bloat.

    1. Rafael L

      Re: Sad but true.

      Funny, WebKit was unique to Apple Safari, then Chrome came using it (= not unique) and was highly successful. Your theory is simply dumb and nothing more.

      1. Levente Szileszky

        Re: Sad but true.

        Unique to Apple, my @ss - WebKit was nothing but a fork of KHTML, the engine under Konqueror, KDE's default browser and back then also default file manager, I remember (I was an early supporter and huge fan of the Konqueror project - the default file manager now is a more streamlined utility but Konqueror is still going strong as a browser AFAIK.)

        1. Rafael L.

          Re: Sad but true.

          And Konqueror is a lot more successful than Safari right?

  19. earl grey
    Paris Hilton

    there's only one thing Opera pulls now

    Yes, she'll show you how.

    I stopped using the new one...what's the point of it?

  20. Rafael L

    "You need to have something unique and different - and Opera had that. It had all those deals on TVs and embedded. (...)"

    They still have it and make new ones, just look at their news posted at And no that didn't make the user growth skyrocket.

    "When I quit we had 60m desktop users and were on a nice growth path. We'd have blown through 100m by this time if we'd improved on the browser. Now it's down to 50m and most people are still on [the Presto-based] Opera 12."

    He seem to have forgot to check that the users loss all happened in the Presto era. There's a downfall since around Opera 12.0 and since Blink Opera appeared the downfall is not as big as before. In the latest they lost only 1 million users, that's compared to a lot more: kind of about 5 million in every previous quarters.

    Day 11 of this month the Q4 financial report will be released with the newest number of users so we will be able to talk more about that later...

  21. Levente Szileszky

    Well, von Tetzchner can kiss my...

    ...rosy browser - while his product was ahead of other in many ways it was also one of the slowest-supported, slowest-developing one out there, taking YEARS to implement a &^%$ mail client, still refusing to support HTML-formatted mails etc etc.

    Icing on the cake was their usually arrogant behavior, apparently stemming straight from the top "von"...

    ...OTOH what was more troubling actually their sometimes downright unethical practices: during my serious last attempt to switch to Opera I was already syncing my profile for a couple of months, using on my O login, when for a few days in a row in an online argument with a dev I strongly criticized some of their lackluster developer performance - ie calling it a junk or a pile of shit - on one of the dev blogs and suddenly a day later my Opera login stopped working. Yes, they banned my Opera login.

    No, not from the blog or forum or whatever - from the ENTIRE OPERA NETWORK, essentially taking all my passwords, bookmarks, history, everything hostage and not only never giving anything back to me but couldn't tell me if it ever will be deleted (FWIW the login was still active but banned 2 years later.) Tried to engage some higher ups, pointing out that such behavior is actually clearly illegal by EU laws, not to mention privacy issues etc but all I got was a half-witted secretary writing me some arrogant, half-assed responses from her boss (do you believe that their heads were so far up in their corporate asses that they didn't even bother replying to emails themselves???)

    I wish they could stick around and provide a choice but with this kinda behavior von Tetzchner should just STFU about his time at Opera - to me it really looks like he was the one that drove it into the ditch before he left as he couldn't build the proper corporate structure and scale up thus couldn't make it into a serious competitor, giving it enough firepower to sustain R&D/innovation etc.

    PS: let emphasize that I DID ADMIRE their little innovations, their different approach etc and I always thought their time will come right when social media takes off a big way - imagine all these things handled *properly* by the browser - but Flock, RockMelt etc came and disappeared and Opera didn't do anything except stopped developing even its own engine and became just another Chromium skinning project... and this is the result of a long process, one that started well under this guy who now, in hindsight, claiming 20/20, as they always do.

  22. Swiss Anton

    Where fools rush in, other fools follow

    I used to read, but I've now stopped because they are determined to force a horrible re-working of their web-site on their users. They seem to be completely deaf to the howls of protest from their contributors, and like Opera, I predict that they will become a footnote in the history of the web.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "will the web ultimately triumph over platforms like iOS and Android?"

    I don't know. Will cooking eventually triumph over kitchens?

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