Never Equals A Year And A Half For Opera On Microsoft
By Mike Masnick, Wed Sep 01 00:30:00 GMT 2004

Never say never in designing applications -- especially when the original reason has more to do with spite than what customers want. Despite promising to never port Opera to Microsoft mobile operating systems, customer requests eventually won out.

Opera and Microsoft have never had a particularly close relationship. Beyond just the competition aspect, Opera in the past has accused Microsoft of purposely blocking Opera browsers from MSN sites, which eventually resulted in a $12 million settlement from Microsoft to avoid any potential legal battles. While all of this was happening, Opera famously declared that it had no intention to help Microsoft in the smartphone operating system battle -- and therefore would refuse to port its popular mobile browser to the Microsoft platform.

The funny thing about saying never, unfortunately, is that it can backfire in embarrassing ways. Opera made no secret that its decision was out of spite for Microsoft, but forgot the market power of both Microsoft and its customers. While companies in the mobile industry may like to believe they know what's best for their customers, it's important to remember that the customer is going to have the final world. In this case, the customers spoke, and Opera changed "never" to one and a half years.

In light of this reversal, the folks over at 3 may want to think a little more carefully before telling its customers they must be crazy to want Internet access on mobile phones. Not only does the demand for the Opera browser clearly show that's not true, but it should put them on alert that writing off what your customers want for your own reasons is unlikely to be a sustainable plan.