Microsoft: Browser-Based Skype Coming Soon
Microsoft is rumored to be working on a web version of Skype that users could access directly through their browsers without needing to download and install software.
According to Liveside.net, a number of new Microsoft job postings have popped up in recent weeks asking for job applications from developers with experience building HTML5-based apps for a project called "Skype for Browsers". (Source: webmonkey.com)
Because of its affiliation with Facebook, Skype (which was acquired by Microsoft last year) is already accessible through a browser, technically speaking.
The Facebook version of Skype uses a plug-in instead of HTML5 features like the Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC) standard, and the social network's video chat features are all incorporated under the Skype umbrella.
Web Version of Skype Would Expand Horizons
With a web version of Skype, Microsoft would be able to expand the voice and video system's popularity, since it would then be accessible from any Internet-connected computer without needing special software.
Among other expanded access channels, the web version would allow more public computers to be used for Skype's Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.
Another bonus from putting Skype on a web interface: the increase in Skype's popularity would make the Microsoft-owned service a more viable (if not preferred) competitor to similar services.
In the mobile world, a web-based Skpe would eat away at the customer base of Apple's Facetime and Google's Hangouts, and in the video conferencing world it would grab market share from systems like Cisco and LifeSize.
One Billion Users in Skype's Foreseeable Future
Currently, Skype has more than 750 million users worldwide.
However, Microsoft's plans to integrate the voice and video service with many of its other software offerings (including Office, Windows, Xbox, and Windows Phone) could drive Skype's user base above one billion users sooner rather than later. (Source: forbes.com)
Despite all of the positive reasons for such a development, many experts believe that "Skype for Browsers" is still a long way from reality.
Others are more optimistic, suggesting that using the WebRTC standard might very well help speed up the development of improved audio and video streaming tools for the web. That, in turn, would help to drive a web-based version of Skype and potentially benefit the whole Internet community.
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