It's a rare entrepreneur who tackles Microsoft Corp. (MSFT
) head-on and lives to tell the tale. That's doubly unlikely when his product is a Web browser. After all, even mighty Netscape Communications Corp., whose browser virtually launched the Internet boom, eventually fell victim to the software colossus.
But Jon S. von Tetzchner, CEO and co-founder of Oslo-based Opera Software, is that rare survivor. Since he and business partner Geir Ivarsoy launched Opera in 1995, the company has attracted a following of tens of millions of users who love the browser's easy navigation and speedy performance. Crowning Opera's success, this March the company staged a successful stock offering -- one of the first after Europe's long postboom drought -- that raised $17.9 million to fund future growth.