RealTime IT News

Opera, Tucows Launch Co-Branded Browser

[London, ENGLAND] Norwegian browser company Opera Software announced Tuesday the launch of a co-branded Internet browser with applications distributor Tucows Inc.

The new browser has several special Tucows features in addition to all the features of the standard Opera browser -- which, as users know, is a highly specified yet compact application.

Among the new features are direct linking to Tucows' software libraries and services, as well as to Tucows' domain name registration service, Domain Direct. The latter enables users to search for and register a domain by clicking a link in the browser's button bar.

The Tucows-Opera browser also allows users to set up multiple e-mail accounts, forward domain names and manage their domains.

Of course, most users do not want to register a domain name every day, and the facility described above could be seen as making the Opera browser an even more esoteric choice than it already is.

With the introduction of a Tucows version, Opera's combination of small footprint and sophisticated features is beginning to look increasingly odd. Surely Web managers and other experts who use Opera have machines capable of running the bulky mainstream browsers -- and domain name registration is just a click away from the hotlists of most experts.

The management at Opera sees the battle with Microsoft and AOL/Netscape in somewhat different terms. Chief Executive Jon S. von Tetzchner points out that the two giants of the industry are tying their browsers more and more into their other Web ventures.

"As the only independent browser maker, Opera is in a unique position to help portals and ISPs to fight back," says von Tetzchner.

Graham Morris, executive vice president of content at Tucows said the partnership would enable Tucows to offer users a direct portal to its products and services. In other words, this supposedly independent browser is now becoming locked into specific brands, albeit on a non-exclusive basis. However, "brands" in the plural is preferable to "own-brand" in the singular -- and the policy may yet win a larger share of the market.

Initially, the Tucows-Opera browser will be available in English only, but other languages may follow at a later date.