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Opera usage statistics

Opera usage statistics

The Opera web browser has been around for years. Available for Windows users in 1995, it’s seen the slaughter of Netscape at the hands of Internet Explorer in the first browser war. Opera was just a bystander then and, I suppose, continues to remain so as the world’s popular web browsers clash once again. This time the war is between Firefox and Internet Explorer with Chrome also chipping in.

Thus, the usage graph of Opera is not very “exciting”, though it’s had ups and downs. But that hasn’t stopped the company from unveiling great features (tabbed browsing was just one of the many firsts from Opera) and making their browser the fastest in the world.

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Opera global usage

Opera commands a little more than 2% of the market share as per both NetMarketShare and StatCounter. This isn’t great. Why? Google’s Chrome over took Opera in less than a year. In fact, based on the numbers of this web site, in the first month of its launch more people were using Chrome than Opera!

Opera global usage and statistics from NetMarketShare and StatCounter

Opera usage on WebDevelopersNotes.com

However, Opera users are fanatically loyal and they consider it the best web browser. Additionally, Opera has a built-in email program which integrates well with their online service.

Though Opera mini is one of the most popular mobile web browsers its usage numbers haven’t been taken into account when creating graphs for this page.

Why hasn’t Opera become popular?

Let me first list down some salient points of the Opera web browser:

  • It’s available for all popular operating systems.
  • Opera is head to head with Chrome when it comes to being the fastest web browser in the world.
  • The installation file is a small download.
  • Browser features a built-in email program.
  • Extremely loyal user base.

However, Opera didn’t become popular. Why? Here is what I think:

  • It never had a backing of a big company. Look at what Google did to Firefox and Chrome. The latter now commands a tad more than 10% of the global market share… and that’s in just a couple of years – check graph below.
  • Till mid 2000, Opera was available only as trialware. Yes, you had to pay to get a fully functional copy. Now who would do that when one had a pre-installed alternative in Internet Explorer?
  • Though Opera was available as a free download sometime around the middle of 2000, the non-paid version was ad supported. This was the time when Netscape was badly defeated by Internet Explorer in the first browser war. The company should have just released their browser 100% free with no strings attached and taken advantage of the market conditions.

Chrome global stats from NetMarketShare and StatCounter

Sadly, Opera continues to remain as an also ran though it’s such a great piece of software.

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