By Per Wetterdal, Executive Vice President, Opera
This week, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google. We wanted to provide some commentary around browsers and Google, considering that browsers are extremely open platforms, with a large degree of user freedom and choice.
Opera is a thriving browser company
Opera is an independent browser company and today our products are the personal choice of over 380 million users across the world. Our user base is growing: our PC browser user base has grown by more than 60% in the last three years, despite heavy competition from companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google. Our growth has been driven by the regions we target, such as Africa, Europe and South Asia.
This year, we celebrated Opera’s 25 year anniversary. Over the years we have consistently believed in building the best internet experiences and advocated for an open internet, based on open web standards. We strongly believe in fair competition, where people can install the browser or apps they want, regardless of their device or operating system. We have throughout the years successfully overcome situations where open and fair competition on the web was threatened.
Web browsers are the world’s most open platforms
Browsers are open by design, making them different from operating systems, where you depend on regulated app stores. In the browser, users can type in the web address of their desired service or search engine of choice and hit enter. And if they like a service’s quality, they can add a shortcut or bookmark with a single click; or even add it into their start page or search engine.
Opera browsers provide open choice for search engines
To be successful, our products need to win users — convincing people to pick Opera instead of Safari, Edge, or Chrome. This means we need to provide users with better products than the competition, something we achieve through continuous innovations and through providing access to high-quality services from our partners.
Twenty years ago, Opera was among the first web browsers to have an integrated search experience. Today, our browsers feature a broad set of available search engines globally and locally. We inform our users how they can easily switch search engines, just as we inform them of how they can benefit from the other customisable features of our browsers.
Google is essential to an open web and mobile ecosystem
Google is among the internet companies that have contributed to keeping the web and mobile app ecosystem open and competitive. On the web, Opera, Google and others collaborate through the Chromium ecosystem, allowing Opera to build the world’s safest web standard compliant browsers. On mobile devices, Android is by far the most open platform for developers, providing web browsers like Opera the ability to be shipped with Opera’s own version of the browser engine, and allowing people to choose Opera as the system default.
As an independent browser company, Opera is pleased to be a long-term Google partner. The nature of the open Android ecosystem has enabled us to offer an uncompromisingly innovative browsing experience to our global user base. At the same time, we have chosen to enter into a search distribution partnership with Google to provide our users with a high quality search experience, while empowering user choice by offering a menu of alternative search engines users may easily choose from.