Opera CEO throws down Atlantic challenge

The chief executive of Opera software has promised to swim from Norway to the US if a million copies of the browser are downloaded in its first four days of release

The chief executive officer of Opera Software has said he will swim from Norway to the United States if one million copies of the company’s latest browser are downloaded within four days. The results will be posted on the Opera Web site on Monday.

At a company meeting in Oslo, Norway on Thursday, Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera, said the company's servers were feeling the strain after thousands of requests for the latest version of Opera's browser.

Carsten Fischer, VP Desktop, Opera Software, said that the demand for Opera version 8, which was released on Tuesday, had "exceeded our wildest dreams".

"A lot of people had great difficulties downloading Opera 8 on Tuesday because the traffic on the servers was simply too high. When download numbers reached 120 per second one hour after the release, our servers had serious problems dealing with all the requests. We had prepared for heavy traffic, but this exceeded our wildest dreams," said Fischer.

To help satisfy the demand, Opera has added additional servers and increased its capacity. In the first 48 hours the company reports that the new browser has been downloaded 600,000 times, so Tetzschner may indeed have to carry out his 'overly excited' promise.

Anne Stavnes, Human Resource Manager at Opera Software, said she was more worried about what the company's CEO would look like in his speedos than his swimming ability.

"I am not sure he realises how cold the Norwegian Sea is in April. However, having seen Jon in his red beach attire before, I am not sure if swimming to the USA is scarier than exposing people to this sight," said Stavnes.

The Mozilla Foundation’s free Firefox browser, which was first launched late last year, took less than 24 hours to hit the one million download mark once the final version was released.

Munir Kotadia reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.

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