Opera Software has permanently dropped the inclusion of advertising banners in the free version of its PC browser software. The ad-free, full-featured Opera browser is now available for download here.
The browser was previously available free of charge with an ad banner. Users had the option of paying a licensing fee to remove the ad banner and receive premium support. One to three per cent of users purchased this license and that along with revenue from search engines and the sale of ads made up the three almost equal revenue streams for Opera's PC business. Opera will continue to sell premium support at the reduced price of €24 per year.
"Removing the ad banner and licensing fee will encourage many new users to discover the speed, security and unmatched usability of the Opera browser," said Jon S. von Tetzchner, chief exec of Opera Software.
By giving away its browser without string attached Opera hopes to boost its market share and thereby make more revenue from search engines, an Opera spokesman explained. The firm hopes this extra revenue will more than offset loss of income from licensing over the long term. Opera's PC software business generates roughly half the income of its devices (set-top box and mobile) operation.
Users more familiar with IE or Firefox will find a number of significant differences with Opera that may enhance their browsing experience. Opera's browser lets users start from where their last browsing session ended or to save their entire session. Integrated security features with the browser also put it ahead of the game in defending against phishing attacks. But don't take our word for it: make up your own mind by downloading the latest (version 8.50) of the browser software here. ®