Microsoft has been in charge of Skype for a while now. For users, not much has changed until now. But Microsoft plans to sink its teeth deep into Skype and make sure it stays the most popular VoIP service online.
It seems that, strange as it may sound for Microsoft, the company is keeping an eye on the future and getting ready to support new web standards well before they're ratified, in this case WebRTC.
WebRTC is a work-in-progress specification
for real-time communications over the web. This means low-latency and preferably high-quality audio and video streams to one or more partners.
It's no easy task, but Google and Mozilla are behind it so Chrome and Firefox
, at the very least, will support it.
What this means is that anyone will be able to build a high-quality VoIP app using just web technologies. Granted, that doesn't mean that the next Skype is going to pop up overnight, but it's best to be prepared.
Microsoft has several job postings related to WebRTC, GigaOm has found
. It seems that Microsoft plans to have a version of Skype in the browser.
That makes a whole lot of sense, not because Microsoft should keep up with current technologies, but because Skype working in a browser would be a great boon to the service. Other VoIP services already work in the browser, but they do so via a plugin or Flash.
Having the ability to run in any browser via standard technology would make it a lot easier for people to try out Skype or to use it when they're away from their computers, or on their phones or tablets.
Having it work on the web would also mean that ISPs and carriers won't be able to block it, Skype would not need to get into the App Store or Google Play.