No more windmills
To many battles and too little gain. They garnered respect in the web development world and that’s about it. On mobile they made some head way but the tide is against them. The switch to Webkit is an admission of defeat. Not as a company but as an innovator on and of the web because they swapped competition for a comity. Their vocal stance on web standards can’t be understated and I sincerely hope they will remain vocal, however, will they need too? They’re are commercial company after all and competing with standards is a bit like fighting windmills.
A new beginning
Opera as a desktop browser, in of itself, is quiet simply a failure because users never embraced it. The switch to Webkit, or more specifically, Chromium is all about smartphones, tablets TV’s, watches (apparently) and app stores. That race is still wide open.
The big change is the move to open source and that is an indication that browser technology is becoming, or at least is considered to be a commodity. Open source is not a platform for innovation or competition, it is all about compliance.
Webkits innovation comes not from its open source nature but from features imposed by its contributing members to help drive their own business.
Canvas, for example, is directly related to Apple creating dashboard widgets for its operating system, they didn’t make it for the web. What will Opera do, what to they need? I’ll bet all the money in my pocket that they’re bristling with ideas for new features. It’s a fresh start for them and I can’t wait what they will come up with.
It’s a business
In the long run the loss of an independent browser engine is not good for the web but it’s probably the smartest move Opera has made in a long time. Altruism hasn’t worked for them so lets hope user centric features that add business value will garner them a greater following.