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Little Known Norwegian Browser Challenges the Big Boys

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Roy Satterthwaite of Opera Software

Pauline Lubens / San Jose Mercury News

No. 1 in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Belarus. It might not be a slogan to attract an avalanche of American Internet users, but the Norwegian company that makes the fastest Web browser you've never heard of sees a major opportunity in the United States and the rest of the world.

Since the Internet went mainstream in the 1990s, accessing the Web has been an either-or decision, if there were any choice at all--Netscape or Microsoft's Internet Explorer? Or more recently--IE or Firefox? But the popularity of the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox and the rapid rise of Google Chrome have broken that logjam. With Internet Explorer on track to abdicate its long-held position as the browser used by a majority of the world's desktop users, browsers are experiencing their most intense cycle of innovation since Microsoft vanquished Netscape in the 1990s, innovation that is giving users a faster and more powerful window to the Web.

"It's an exciting time to be in the browser business," said Al Hilwa, an analyst with the research firm IDC who tracks the market.

The shift has presented a big opportunity for Opera Software, the Norwegian browser that rules in parts of the former Soviet Union but has a minuscule sliver of the U.S. market.

From San Jose Mercury News
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