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Internet Explorer 6.0, rose faster than all of its competitors combined.
For average users, IE is king. Even if you don't like M$, it will make things easier for webmasters. The big question is: how much will things change with the AOL/NS deal?
They added new smiley faces and the ability to change their color. That sounds like just enough of an improvement to qualify as a next major release!
You'd think AOL is secretly getting payed by microsoft to kill off Netscape.
Opera.com reports that there are now over a million downloads of their browser each month. That's not too shabby by anyone's definition.
I still think that many of these dls will be designers and the curious the world over. Everybody in my office has a copy of Opera 6 on their machine (and many at home too) for compatibility testing and the like. However, not one person here uses it for browsing.
Brett, have you got some links that list these European countries where Opera is #2 and some stats?
Reasons why other browsers are miscounted:
What everyone should do:
The easiest solution is to make your pages cross-browser friendly
Download.com also is reporting increased downloads of Opera as well as listing some interesting user feedback. Opera has a higher approval rating (votes by visitors) than IE, all Flavors of Netscape and Mozilla.
Personally, I know of quite a few, non-tech people who have begun using Opera as their primary browser. And yes... skinning does appeal to a significant percentage of users.
What Opera has going for it here is the ability to easily create your own skins. I know it does not seem important to the majority of us... but in the world of consumerism and pop culture, it's a huge advantage! It's just one of the non-tech related features that is helping Opera gain market penetration.
However, my other borther who has been using computers all his life, hasn't made the switch and still uses NN, and the rest from big internet users to programmers, are still using IE, hence stuck in their ways.
Opera is definetly growing, and more site creators are becoming aware of the HTML validity issues, because of it. Why validate for opera, becuase the rest bar mozilla, strive to be as good
I'm dediacted Opera user for about 2 years already, starting from v.3. It's my primary browser since I discovered it's brilliant features that are missing in competiting products. But when I talk to others about it, I often get a reply like this: "Well, it's fine, but I don't really need/care/bother myself to try it, what I have is enough".
It also seems to me that Opera promotion is the key of it's not so bright growth. I understand that a small company doesn't have enough resources to do it. But it seems the most important thing for now (after fixing all small but sometimes annoying bugs that exist in current version).
Here's an example of lack of promotion: many features implemented in new Mozilla were advertized loudly, but not so many people know that these things were implemented in Opera a long time ago.
What can we do to change this?
if opera installs itself as opera, webmasters will see it in their stats and might download opera to test it themselves. they might even make site visitors aware that the site is compatible with opera.
10 million downloads? 10% usage? not according to my stats .... i think that rather than ensuring opera compatibility, i'll spend my time adding an extra couple of pages to my sites ....
when opera can *prove* more than 5% usage through my stats, that's when i'll take it seriously and ensure compatibility ...
I think this was so they could grow under the radar of M$. They started this when M$ was ruthlessly crushing any and all competition and before they had to "make nice" because of the anti-trust suit.
I might be wrong on the reasons but that was always my impression.
if opera does install as IE by default, then this is probably the biggest marketing cockup opera could make.
This is not a decision based on marketing, but one based on usability. As I stated earlier, there are an unfortunate numbers of sites, some of them very large, that were built by short-sighted webmasters who only felt it necessary to sniff for IE and Netscape and ignore all other user-agents.
I do have my version of Opera set to ID as Opera, and I find it both sad and amusing when I come across a so-called professional site that fails to identify Opera (since they are only sniffing for the other IE/NS) and serves up a page prompting me to upgrade my browser to either IE4 or NN4 !!!
I won't name names... and a few of these "winner" sites have already been aluded to elsewhere, so perhaps the reasoning for shipping with ID as IE is a bit more clear now. It is also important to note that even when set to ID as IE, Opera is still identified in the full referrer string. The information is there for Webmasters to review.
Opera's marketing push is based on providing users with a feature rich browser with more power and flexibility than any other.