OperaWatch is reporting that Opera will announce a new revenue model for its desktop web browser. Naturally speculation has turned to removal of the ubiquitous ads.
But what if it’s something else entirely? My guess: They’ve made a deal with a PC manufacturer to get Opera pre-installed.
It fits with their mobile business model: Make a deal with the phone manufacturer to get Opera installed. Nokia pays for it, the end user gets a free web browser on his handheld device, and everyone’s happy. The same thing could work in the desktop space—if Opera can convince the manufacturer that it’s worth installing something other than Internet Explorer.
It’s not totally unheard-of. To pick an example, Dell will pre-install an office suite, letting you choose between WordPerfect Office and several versions of Microsoft Office. They’ll also pre-install an antivirus program, letting you choose between Norton and McAfee. Why not let you choose the browser? Dell (or whoever it is) pays Opera a discounted price, you get a free browser that’s arguably better than IE, Opera gets more exposure and more marketshare overnight—everybody wins.