Feeds

Opera: Can someone free Korea from IE?

Land of the living ActiveX

High performance access to file storage

Opera is quite pleased with the state of the European browser market, now that the EU has ordered Microsoft to give users a fair choice on Windows. But it still bemoans Internet Explorer's ongoing stranglehold in other parts of the world, most notably Korea.

According to Opera chief technology officer Håkon Wium Lie, the company regularly hears from netizens outside the EU calling for Windows browser ballot screens in their parts of the world, and he says that an EU-like antitrust ruling is most needed in Korea. "That's where Microsoft's grip in the strongest," he said today during a press event in Oslo. "It's almost a government requirement to use Internet Explorer."

Famously, Korea has one of the highest broadband penetration rates in the world, and it's a hotbed for computer technology and consumer electronics. But when it comes to the browser, it's rather behind. As Opera co-founder Jon von Tetzchner pointed out to The Reg, Korea spent years designing websites solely for IE and ActiveX.

Microsoft's EU ballot screen - originally pushed out to existing users via Windows Update in March - gives EU citizens a choice of 12 browsers, including IE and Opera. It can be traced to a complaint Opera made to the European Commission in December 2007, claiming that IE was unfairly tied to Windows, and it was Håkon Wium Lie who spearheaded Opera's efforts to provide fair browser distribution in Europe.

Though some internet statistics show Microsoft's influence declining in Korea, Wium Lie said this doesn't reflect the use of IE within corporate intranets.

"Inside the firewalls of companies, there are no measurements taking place," he said. "A lot of people are still using IE in those places. They need our help. The browser ballot screen is not going to help everyone. It is not a silver bullet for everyone, everywhere, all the time. But we think it is a good idea. It has worked in Europe. And it could work somewhere else."

Opera has not formally complained in Korea, and it has no concrete plans to do so. "We had our hands full in Europe. That's a lot of work," Wium Lie said. "Working in Korea would involve a lot of responses as well. We prefer to develop our product. We hope that there are watchdogs out there that can take up the cause without us having to push it actively."

But according to chief exec Lars Boilsen, the company could potentially make complaints in countries outside the EU. "We have no plans make a formal complaint in Korea," he said.

"We think what has happened in Europe is a really good thing. If there's an opportunity to do things outside of Europe where it would not impact our focus on making the best software, we would certainly consider that, but we have no plans as of today."

The Norwegians saw a marked rise in downloads of its Opera desktop browser following the role-out of Microsoft browser screen. In the two weeks following the roll-out of the ballot, Opera saw downloads more than double.

"We actually got [Opera] out to a lot of new users," Boilesen said. "The beauty of the internet is that if you make really good products, you can get distribution – even if your starting point is pretty hopeless. This is kind of the history of Opera. Now, with the Microsoft ballot, we are getting fair distribution." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.