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Opera nixes banner ads in free version

Looking to broaden usage, Opera Software eliminates banner advertising in its latest version. Images: A free pass to the Opera

The latest free version of Opera Software's namesake browser will be available without an advertising banner.

With version 8.5 of the Opera browser, which was released Tuesday, the company said that it has removed banner ads from its free edition. Until now, Opera customers had the option of paying to eliminate the ads and receive premium support.

With the licensing change, Opera hopes to accelerate uptake of its browser, the company said.

"Removing the ad banner and licensing fee will encourage many new users to discover the speed, security and unmatched usability of the Opera browser," Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera Software, said in a statement.

via e-mail is still available from the company for $29 per year.

Version 8.5 also addresses some security vulnerabilities and includes a feature called Browser JavaScript, which automatically fixes out-of-date browser scripts.