Microsoft Working On HTML5 Version Of Skype For Browsers

Developer & Design

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In previous discussions on WebRTC, I mentioned that the technology is a threat to Skype. For those that are unfamiliar, WebRTC is essentially an browser-powered video chat client. It uses HTML5 and other open Web standards to bring video chat to everyone. It's currently stable on Chrome and Mozilla has already shown off their own Firefox demo. It looked like Skype might be in trouble, but Microsoft is having none of it.

A recent job posting on Microsoft's Talent Network points to the company looking for a Software Development Engineer for "Skype for Browsers." The job has potential candidates integrating "existing Skype solutions on to the Web with the support of the backend services build from the ground up using the latest Microsoft technologies."

Well, that's pretty descriptive already, but the job requirements really nail it. A successful job applicant must have experience in developing Web applications with an emphasis on HTML5 development based on JavaScript.

Here's the full job requirements listing:

- BS/MS in Computer Science, Information Systems or similar.
- Extensive experience developing rich web client applications.
- Real world experience developing HTML5 UI’s including rich interaction based on JavaScript (ideally understands difference between standards based ECMA, and browser specific JavaScript/JS.
- An understanding of rich media in windows (AV) would be helpful.
- C#, Java or C++ experience would be a strong advantage.
- Self-direction - must work independently to develop application code. This role demands proactive, ‘can-do’ nature.
- Self-management - Must be highly organized and be able to prioritize work effectively. Successfully engage in multiple initiatives simultaneously.
- Team-orientation - Able to put team interests above personal, help team to move faster all together and take personal responsibility for the whole team result.
- Excellent problem solving and analytical skills
- Experience in agile software development methodologies: SCRUM
- Experience in applications that cross (and depend on) multiple client environments (e.g. variation in device driver, network connectivity etc.) would be a benefit.

All of this points to Microsoft wanting their own browser powered video chat application for Internet Explorer. Microsoft has already proclaimed themselves as being a big proponent of open Web standards. The only conflict I can see here is if Skype for browsers only works on Internet Explorer. The promise from Google and Mozilla is that WebRTC will work on any HTML5 empowered browser.

Microsoft has stated in the past, however, that their acquisition of Skype would not lead to them cutting services out for anybody else. So if Microsoft is sticking to that pledge than Skype for Browsers should be available to all HTML5 browsers.

So that's Mozilla, Google and Microsoft all working on a browser powered video chat client. We now just have Opera and Safari to contend with. It makes you wonder if Apple will create an HTML5 powered version of Facetime.

[h/t: Ars Technica]