Opera Software today released version 8.5 of their great browser, and with this release they’ve the removed ad-banners and licensing fee, effectively making Opera a free browser! That’s free as in free beer, not as in free speech by the way… Still, for those who have wanted to use Opera full time but have been put off by the ads there’s now no excuse! Go ahead and download it!
Apparently they are doing this to increase their user base over time, and while they will lose quite a bit of revenue from doing this, they hope to gain it back in the long run from increased use and building of their brand. I’m not too sure how clever this is economically though, since my opinion is that that Opera will remain a browser for the more technically adept, while casual computer users are often put off just by the sheer amount of options and the small number of complex sites who don’t work.
But – I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Opera in the future and that the number of people using opera will grow with this bold move.