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Who says the browser is dead? Norway's Opera, with a loyal base of eight million users, says it plans a stock market listing in March at the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE). "After developing and refining the technology and commercial side for nine years, Opera Software is now ready for public listing," CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner said in a statement.

Opera Software develops browsers for desktop, smart phone, PDA, iTV and vertical markets. Partners include IBM, Nokia, Sony, Motorola, Macromedia, Adobe, Kyocera, Sharp, BenQ and Sendo. The company makes most of its money in the mobile phone Internet browser market. Opera's browser for desktop PCs has only a two per cent market share against Microsoft's 96 per cent.

Financially, the company is doing surprisingly well. The Norwegian company today reported revenues of NOK28.8m , for the quarter ended December 31, 2003 compared to MPL13.8m, for the same period in 2002, a growth of 108.7 per cent.

In related news, The Mozilla Foundation yesterday announced the immediate availability of a new preview release of its next generation web browser, Mozilla Firefox. It is a new name for the open source stand alone browser that was previously available as Mozilla Firebird.

The new release for Windows, Linux and MacOS X has a new download manager that makes tracking multiple downloads easier, numerous improvements to bookmarks handling, improved handling of extensions and a new default theme for Mac OS X users that integrates flawlessly with the OS X desktop environment.

Along with the new name, Firefox sports a new logo and the Mozilla Foundation says it is kicking off a grass-roots Get Firefox campaign to spread word about the new browser.

Yesterday also saw the release of Mozilla Thunderbird 0.5, a new preview of Mozilla’s email application. The development of its mainstream browser Mozilla, which combines browsing, HMTL editing, news, email and IRC chat in one application, will also continue. ®

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