The browser wars have taken a new twist with Opera Software offering free software licenses to universities worldwide in an attempt to wean users off Internet Explorer.
The company said Wednesday that its offer is being made to protect academia from some of the flaws in "more vulnerable browsers" and to ensure a more secure, personalized Web-surfing experience for future generations of decision makers.
Technology companies aggressively court customers in the education market as a way to create allegiance among future technology experts and purchasers.
The offer has already been taken up by a number of high-profile institutions, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as Oxford University, according to the company.
Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera, said customization features in the software may prove popular for schools and universities that want to use their own colors, badges or mascots to decorate the browser window.
On a more serious note, von Tetzchner added, "Opera is fully standards-compliant and offers extensive administration possibilities for network configuration, providing flexibility to system administrators as they make Opera a part of their university network."
Universities interested in Opera's free site license can visit Opera's Web site for more information.
Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.