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Why Opera Didn't Make It on the iPhone

Wow. You know, Apple really is kind of a shoddy company is many ways. But Opera really takes the cake. I’m asked frequently by the browser company’s 17 PC users (most of whom appear to live in Scandinavia) why I never write about the product, and the reason is simple. It’s irrelevant on the PC (but not, as it turns out, on mobile devices). It turns out that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Opera’s many failings:

Last week a lot was made of revelations that Apple had barred the Opera browser from the iPhone. Reports explained Apple blocked the browser company Opera from distributing a mobile version of its browser, Opera Mini, to iPhone users because it competes with Apple's own Safari browser. It appeared to many Apple was unfairly restricting good applications from iPhone users - something it has been accused of doing in the past. [Um. Something it has done in the past, you mean. –Paul]

All may not be as it appears. I caught up with Tor Odland, Director of Corporate Communications at Opera, who says earlier reports overstate the situation. In fact Odland says, "Opera has not yet submitted a version of Opera Mini to Apple's App Store, but may do so in the future."

LOL. Spare me. Seriously, just spare me.

So where did the “Apple blocked Opera” stuff originate? Here, in the New York Times Blog:

Mr. von Tetzchner said that Opera’s engineers have developed a version of Opera Mini that can run on an Apple iPhone, but Apple won’t let the company release it because it competes with Apple’s own Safari browser.

To be fair to von Tetzchner, there’s no direct quote here, and he most likely relaying his opinion. But I’m guessing, too, that he was forceful enough in his convictions while conveniently leaving out the most pertinent bit of the conversation … that Opera had never, in fact, tried to get its browser submitted to Apple to be released the iPhone.

All this said, based on Apple’s behavior so far, yeah, they would have shot Opera down. Obviously. That’s what they do.

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