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More than two million copies of Opera version 8 have been downloaded since it was launched two weeks ago, the company says.

The figures include downloads on all platforms and in all languages. English language downloads predominate, as you might expect, with 1.3m of the 2m total, while downloads of the German version of the browser totaled nearly 400,000. Opera does not split the figures by region, so we cannot tell how many of those English downloads happened in Blighty vs. the US, Australia, or elsewhere.

"Considering Opera's last version, Opera 7, accumulated more than 60 million downloads, the successful launch of Opera 8 in April 2005 reflects that even higher download figures await for Opera," Jon von Tetzchner, Opera software's CEO, commented.

At the end of last month, downloads of the Firefox browser reached 50m, according to Infocraft, taking it to just over a 10 per cent market share (according to Janco Associates). This was one of the goals the company set for itself for 2005 back in October last year, when it was warming up for the Firefox 1.0 launch.

At the time, the Mozilla spokesman said that Firefox was about preserving meaningful choice on the internet, rather than taking back 80 per cent of Microsoft's IE business, a sentiment that we have heard echoed by Opera on more than one occasion.

Opera says it hopes increased competition from alternative browsers will help keep Microsoft on its toes, and keep the browser evolving. ®

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