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Opera CEO is Sunk on Browser Downloads

Not that there's ever a good time to find warm water to swim from Oslo, Norway, to the U.S., but Opera's CEO Jon von Tetzchner picked a bad time of year to make good on his promise.

Last week, the Opera leader vowed to swim from his homeland to the U.S. if downloads to his latest Web browser reached 1 million over the weekend.

Version 8 of the Opera 8 browser launched last Tuesday, followed by Tetzchner's bold pledge to take the plunge for his browser brainchild.

Whether users simply downloaded the browser to check out the latest features, like voice-navigated browsing and small screen rendering (SSR), or were of a sadistic bent, downloads reached 1.05 million Saturday.

Humorous situation reports have kept readers informed of Tetzchner's latest activities, including his attempts at preparing for the swim despite no real training.

"I take this challenge very seriously, but after three laps at Bislett Bad on Saturday I realized, as I was heaving like a whale, that I should probably have started the training a little bit earlier," Tetzchner stated on his Web site. "I am hoping that my extra pounds of excess body fat will create enough buoyancy to keep me afloat and insulation to keep me warm."

CEO Jon von Tetzchner
CEO Jon von Tetzchner (photo courtesy Opera)
While the surface temperature in Oslo right now is a balmy (by Norwegian standards) 56 degrees the water temperature is anything but optimal. According to Tor Odland, an Opera spokesman, Tetzchner stepped into water this morning that was roughly 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

He's accompanied by Eskil Sivertsen, the company's public relations manager, who is following Tetzchner in a boat loaded with a satellite phone, maps, food and water and a book of inspirational quotes.

Odland said that as of press time, he believes his CEO is still out there but doesn't know how long that is going to last.

"He's really giving it his best shot, that's about all we can say," he said.

Staffers hope Tetzchner makes it to nearby Drobak, Norway, though the CEO has claimed he's going to stop over in Iceland for a cup of his mother's hot chocolate before forging on to the United States.

Drobak is a famous site of Norwegian history, a city where marines from the country sunk a German warship during World War II. Incidentially, the city is also a popular summer resort and is sure to serve hot chocolate, though probably not as good as mom makes.