Some clarifications on numbers and Jon leaving Opera below.
Originally posted by Krake:
Originally posted by Sawo:
Another interview with Jon von Tetzchner, which appeared today in the German magazine c't'.
It contains some information about the changes at the company, and the switch to Opera 15.
It is in German, so you may need to use a web translator.
Google translate isn't so bad:
Jon von Tetzchner was co-founder and CEO until early 2010 the Norwegian company Opera Software, which develops the same browser. Mid-2012, he retired from the strife of his company, which since then drives a significantly different course. With Vivaldi.net now reports from Tetzchner back from his Icelandic home. The first goal of startups: building an online community with blogs, forums and mail services, offering the users of the soon closing service My Opera a new home.
In an interview with c't tells of Tetzchner of his plans with Vivaldi and keep his opinions about the new Opera strategy is not behind the mountain.
c't: you have left about two and a half years ago Opera. What did you do in the meantime?
Jon von Tetzchner: I have a little invested in startups, about ten companies, most in Iceland. I founded a startup center in Seltjarnarnes in Reykjavik, where I lived as a child. Here now work 18 companies - the Startup Center was full in a week.
Then I asked myself: Do I want to now only work as a consultant? After a while I thought: No, I must be doing something yourself. In a way, I served the Opera idea by hiring My Opera. I thought for some time, it would be interesting to start a community: a difficult competition, a crazy idea - okay, let's do it.
c't: Is Vivaldi.net planned as a pure My-Opera-clone? It's a bold idea of ??building a community in the age of Facebook ...
of Tetzchner: We think a lot about innovations. We have compiled a comprehensive starter kit, but it will definitely be more. We still are but in an early stage. We have launched a month ago.
From Tetzchners Vivaldi.net to the My Opera community, which is closed in three weeks, which give a new home.
We focus not so obvious to attract users. I think there is room for a site like this. We have always tried in Opera, to be the good guys, and so it is with Vivaldi. There are many former Opera-people, also a few Icelanders. We are a small team, about 20 people, more than half of technicians. The money comes from me, there are no other investors.
c't: Where is the business model?
of Tetzchner: We have experience with affiliate deals in Opera, something in the way we could make at Vivaldi. I think there are some ways to make money, without sacrificing the user. We try to focus on privacy and security: It's all encrypted, we play no advertising in the mails. We host in Iceland, only for the delivery of the websites we use Content Delivery Networks.
"There are some ways to earn money without having it at the expense of users."
We did not want to spy on our users. Check out our EULA at times, sure, I'm actually proud of. It is not so full of legalese as usual. We try to give the company a human face - as we have done in Opera, and I hope we can do it again here. We want to build something for geeks, make a group of happy people who demand a lot - the target group are the Opera-users.
c't: How big is the My Opera community?
of Tetzchner: There are, I believe, registered more than 10 million, but the number of active participants is much smaller. There were over 35 million visitors per month - I do not understand why Opera closes.
That said, I understand it already, because I know the people who run the company now: look at the revenue and expenditure of My Opera separately, and there was never at Opera efforts to make money - it was something that what we did for our users. But the community has played a central role in building operators, since people all came through word of mouth.
c't: Have you spoken with Opera on the acquisition of My Opera? The founders of Fast Mail've got you down even bought back.
of Tetzchner: One can, I think, to say that the relationship is not optimal. I have a few people over concerns that I would like to take over the community, but they did not give me.
Up to and including version 12 Opera was packed with functions, features and configuration options.
Opera 15 had the flashing engine not much to add except a nice user interface with "Discovery" and "Stash".
c't: What browser do you use anyway?
of Tetzchner: Still Opera 12
c't: Am I doing even occasionally, but he is aging fast ...
of Tetzchner: Yes, it's a bit like a burning ship - at some point you have to stop the machine. The interesting thing is: Of the approximately 330 million Opera users still use the 300 million Opera 12
***Clarification on the numbers:
Opera has somewhere north of 330 million users. Of these users:
- 248 million are using Mini.
- 22 million are using Mobile.
- 51 million are using Desktop.
- 30 million are using Opera on Wii, DS and other devices. I think that number sounds high, but lets go with it. These are all Opera numbers.
Out of these, all Mini users are using Presto. More than half of the desktop users are using Presto, using 3rd party stats. All Wii, DS and other device users are using Presto. Mobile, I am not sure, but I would expect a significant number of the 22 million are using Presto.
Out of these, all Mini users are using Presto. More than half of the desktop users are using Presto, using 3rd party stats. All Wii, DS and other
device users are using Presto. Mobile, I am not sure, but I would expect a significant number of the 22 million areusing Presto.
Adding this all together, it is clear that about 300 millon of the 330 or 350 million users are using Presto, the browser engine powering Opera 12***
c't: That would not bode well for Opera's move to WebKit.
of Tetzchner: It was the wrong move. It has apparently taken the decision at the beginning of 2010, when I stopped - at least you heard back then on to invest in the development team. You have people no longer replaced, who have left, gradually the code was less competitive. And we all know that you have to give everything when you compete against Google, Apple and Mozilla.
"A lot of smart people have left Opera."
Clarification: Jon quit Opera in June 2011 after leaving the position of CEO in January 2010.
c't: Many Opera users were shocked when they saw Opera 15.
of Tetzchner: We could have said: Okay, let's take WebKit, we use our resources to build a great UI. But in reality, there were the people for not, because the had ceased or been fired.
A lot of smart people have left Opera. When I stopped, about 750 people worked at Opera. Now while there are more, but over 300 people have since ceased, especially from the core team. The focus is now more on advertising and on the financial side, not in the products - and Opera was a product company.
c't: Did you then actually voluntarily ceased as CEO?
of Tetzchner: It was my decision, but it was a long, long struggle preceded, and I was really exhausted. I hoped with Lars Boilesen there would be continuity, because he had worked as my Head of Sales, but I should find out quickly that this would not be so.
The investors wanted the company in a different direction when I draw - rather in the holding of the financial market is right, instead of trying to make the end user happy. I have seven years fought against, to sell the company or to neglect the desktop browser.
I left the company in a very good condition. We had doubled our user base of 50 to 100 million and continued to grow, even without new features. I left the company with 100 million U.S. dollars in the bank. This money is spent obviously, because they had a new round of financing. You have company bought, which is expensive.
The financial market seems to be very happy with how the company is run. I am sad when I see what has happened with my company. It goes completely in the opposite direction from the one where I was going. This change in direction was the reason that I no more than a kind of spirit was standing in the background and Opera in 2012 finally left. Then perhaps accelerated the development, but the real break was already done.
Sentimental farewell gesture: As a kind of Easter Egg developers smuggled in Opera 12 a letter to her retired founder of the company a.
c't: Do you feel that you have destroyed your life's work?
of Tetzchner: I think Opera could have achieved much more. For 2013, we had 500 million users as the target. Had we continued on our way, we would have, I think, done. The two features that have been added since my departure, are Discovery and Stash. On the other hand a lot of things have disappeared.
And Coast, the new tablet browser, I see myself more as a cool prototypes. Previously, we have implemented projects such as Turbo or Unite, which was a major innovation. Unite matches the direction in which the Internet developed more peer-to-peer, not everything in the cloud.
"When you're in an area pioneer, one comes in a very good position when one catches up after a while the trend."
c't: Unite was, I believe, the first thing that Opera has adjusted after your departure. I always had the impression that the users have not understood then what you could do with it.
of Tetzchner: I had the idea that we can improve further Unite - that was only version 1.0. Peer-to-Peer is now a big trend, as the Internet of Things. We have started doing in 2005. That was very early, as much of what we did.
We started with mobile browsers in 1999. At that time, people said that mobile browsers do not make sense, one should take WAP. I believe that if one is a pioneer in a field and continue working on it, you get into a very good position when one catches up after a while the trend. Therefore we need long-term investments.
Now Opera invested more in the purchase of other companies - as Skyfire, what ever did not make sense to me. Of course I'm sad that she threw away Unite, but I'm also sad that she threw away bookmarks and a lot of other things that use the people.