Opera should be bracing for impact.
Quite possibly for the first time, Opera Software will receive real pressure in the mobile-browser space from Firefox Mobile and Skyfire.
Like Opera's cell phone browser, Opera Mini (video), both newcomers are free. However, Opera Mobile, which serves Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 phones, is a commercial product that smartphone users may not want to pay for when handed alternatives gratis.
How does Opera plan to keep current customers and attract new ones when consumers face a choice between paying $24 and $0? I asked the Opera folks if they would consider making Opera Mobile free in anticipation of or in response to oncoming competition.
"The mobile Web is blossoming, and we are strongly positioned to take advantage of its growth," Tatsuki Tomita, Opera's senior vice president of consumer products, responded. "While we watch the industry closely, we have not yet determined the end-user model for Opera Mobile."
What a nicely toned, safely vague statement! It's one any company would be expected to make when challenged on two fronts by a competitive freeware surge. Yet with actual working, marketable products for a range of devices and a business plan that reaches into corporate pockets, Opera is well-positioned. For now.… Read more