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January 03, 2014

WebRTC Will Not Push Skype Out of the Sandbox

There has been speculation that WebRTC, the technology that allows peer-to-peer, realtime communications, means the end of products such as Skype and facetime. It has even been referred to as the “Skype killer,” but it’s important to point out the differences between the two -- one being that WebRTC is a technology, not a product.

Skype also differentiates itself from WebRTC in that it offers significantly more than peer-to-peer voice and video, so customers would be more likely to remain loyal to it and similar products. As Rude Baguette blogger Gregory Menvielle recently speculated, “the emotional cost of switching solutions is often much higher than the economic one.”

One detail that may be stopping WebRTC and Skype from really battling it out is the fact that both Microsoft and Apple have yet to adopt the new technology. In fact, WebRTC could possibly be the reason why Microsoft decided to shut down its app directory and desktop API.

“You can’t really compare WebRTC directly to Skype, as one is a set of capabilities and the other is an application, but it is easy to imagine that WebRTC applications will flourish and broadly impact how we communicate,” NoJitter.com author David Michels wrote earlier this year.

Despite Microsoft’s decision to not adopt the technology, the company has been making changes to Skype recently that makes it operate more like a WebRTC --  at least to customers -- by integrating it more into Windows, eliminating the need for users to install it, and integrating it with Lync. These changes might make it hard to continue labeling WebRTC as a “Skype killer.”

So whether you prefer WebRTC or Skype, it seems as if there is room for both (for now) depending on how you look at it, but what most can agree on is that both will continue to evolve in the near future.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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