WebRTC Expert Feature

October 02, 2013

How Can You Kill Skype if You Don't Share?

In his piece on No Jitter, David Michels got a lot of people excited about Vidyo. He came to some great conclusions and some that IMHO, are mistaken.

On the plus side, I agree Google Hangouts will benefit from Vidyo’s SVC and solve some difficult problems like what to do when the customer is specifically on an H.264 codec. This solves a problem with the chips that are in use and the devices that are not going to give VP9 a chance in their chips. However, very little of this has to do with the battle over VP9 and H.265. Skype’s role here is nonexistent but Microsoft’s SilverLight strategy is relevant (although currently in retreat).

Furthermore, the analysis on Google+ Hangouts and Skype may be correct as far as West Coast strategists are concerned, but to me this just does not hunt. First of all, Skype being so close to Avaya (as they were owned by the same fund) would be enough reason for MS Lync to want to see Skype bought and perhaps forgotten. Secondly, Facebook Messenger was being developed about the time as Google+ Hangouts, and there is no reason to think that focusing on Facebook did not lead to Hangouts.

Then comes the fact that Google Talk and Google Voice are more direct competitors to Skype. Frankly, I think the WebRTC clan thinks very little about those Google products and even less on Skype.

Finally, my biggest beef is that no one seems to grok that absent a common identity strategy and signaling protocol, WebRTC can only kill Skype by a thousand cuts and not as a replacement.

IMHO no one is going to enable the connectivity between WebRTC solutions -- lots of sites, and lots of networks running their own solution. WebRTC is the anti network.

You can make the case that Google+ with Hangouts is aimed at the future non telecom market, but you cannot make the case that Skype is still the preferred solution for those of us who have bypassed telecom.

Skype solves a problem that will exist for some time for many of us: international dialing. It does so by providing a common identity or enabling us to reach a common identity (that of a phone number). 

WebRTC has not embraced URI’s phone numbers or anything else and to think that Nirvana will be achieved without a common ground strategy is naïve.

And guess what? Google is okay with no common ground, because if we don’t have a common ground, we are going to be doing a lot of searching.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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