Opera Software Loses Co-Founder Jon von Tetzchner

Opera Software lost its first co-founder, Geir Ivarsøy, in 2006 under tragic circumstances. Now, it has lost its other co-founder as Jon S. von Tetzchner has decided to quit the company.

Jon-Tetzchner“It is of course a choice that brings up a lot of emotions”, says von Tetzchner. “When we first started out, we were a few guys in a really small office – now we are spread all over the world, have over 740 employees and over 200 million users. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and look forward to following the company closely also in the future.”

Opera began as a research project inside Telenor, the Norwegian telecom giant. In 1995, Tetzchner and Ivarsøy spun it off as an independent company, and established Opera Software. The first build of Opera (called MultiTorg) never saw the light of day, but Opera 2.1 was released in 1997.

Although, Opera is still a minor player in the desktop segment, it has made its presence felt through continuous innovation. Opera helped pioneer tabbed browsing, and was behind many popular features like search engine bar and speed dials. The company advocated strongly in favor of web standards and “One Web” before most others, and reaped the benefit of its vision by securing a dominant position in the mobile market.

After being the CEO of Opera for fifteen years, Tetzchner stepped down in January 2010, as Opera’s revenue slumped unexpectedly. Lars Boilesen took over the reins, and has since led Opera Software to record breaking highs by streamlining Opera’s operations and focusing on operator partnerships. Jon stayed on as a strategic advisor, and served as the public face of the company.

Boilesen bid farewell to Tetzchner with the following statement:

We had a lot of fun during these years, and to say that Jon has created a great company is an understatement. He has taught me and everyone working here a lot. He believed in, and pushed out innovation after innovation that we see our competitors constantly struggling with copying, making Opera a first mover in the technological development of web browsers as we know them today. We are very proud of Jon, and of course of the company. We are aiming at 500 million users by 2013, and we have a very positive flow right now.

Tetzchner will be staying with Opera Software till 30th of June. Although he didn’t divulge what his next project will be, we wish the man who created one of the most innovative and path breaking browsers all the best.

Update: TechCrunch has leaked an email sent by Tetzchner to Opera employees, in which he makes it clear that he is quitting due to differences with the board.

Dear All,

It is with a heavy heart that I send this message. Next week will be my
last at Opera. It has become clear that The Board, Management and I do not
share the same values and we do not have the same opinions on how to keep
evolving Opera. As a result I have come to an agreement with the Board to
end my time at Opera. I feel the Board and Management is more quarterly
focused than me. I have always worked to build the company for the future.
I believe the foundation we have is very solid to build further upon.

I do believe strongly in Opera as a company, and in all of you working
here. Our products actually make a difference for a lot of people in the
world, and I wish you all the best of luck moving forward. I will be
following the company closely and rooting for you all.

Yours truly,

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Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .