On launch day Thursday, Opera 11 was downloaded 6.7 million times compared to 1.7 million a year ago with Opera 10.10. While these numbers are strong for the company that has put much of its focus on its mobile browser, one aspect of the numbers may catch many by surprise.
53% of the new downloads admitted to switching from Firefox while 43% were switching from Internet Explorer.
Part of the success of the launch can be attributed to Opera’s appeal to the Reddit audience. The social news site is quickly becoming a force that drives tremendous traffic and holds a certain level of “intellectual superiority” amongst its members more so than other similar sites. Opera is the perfect fit for many Redditors and they weren’t worried about using bacon to drive that point home.
The numbers point to something that has been helping Chrome for a while: Firefox is losing ground. Once considered the heir apparent to Internet Explorer’s crown of most used browser, they have fallen under their own weight of thick code and extraneous addons that yield more crashes and slower performance than their leaner competitors in Chrome and Opera.
Is Opera the browser of the future, or are they always going to play 4th or 5th fiddle to their less-obscure counterparts? Opera 11 seems to be a step in the right direction, particularly with the addition of the extensions, but it may be too little, too late.