There Will Be No WebRTC Skype Killer

Skype is too big. No WebRTC vendor is going to kill it.

[If you are new around here, then you should know I’ve been writing about WebRTC lately. You can skim through the WebRTC post series or just read what WebRTC is all about.]

Skype killer anyone?

We have just been informed this week that Viber are now 175 million users strong, threatening Skype’s hegemony. I find it quaint to think that way.

Viber is certainly big. It has no business model in sight. Only thing I can think of is being acquired due to its sheer size and footprint on mobile.

That said, Skype offers video calling (over 40% of their Skype-to-Skype calls are video ones). Is used on mobile and desktop. And backed by Microsoft, who is fuzing it with their Lync offering for enterprises.

Then there’s WebRTC, with a slew of startups – over 70 already – some positioning themselves as Skype killers. They won’t kill Skype.

WebRTC reduces barriers of entry to the VoIP world, but on its own, it is not going to kill or change any of the successful services that are out there today.

You can’t fight a free service with another free service and expect to win when the former has a head start of a decade and over 450 million users on you (with a business model that generates money).

If you are a WebRTC startup, please don’t put Skype in your sights and decide to beat them in their own game: you know nothing of their market (I don’t either). Try solving a real world problem – go for a niche play – do something worthwhile.

Skype is headed to a lot of headaches because of WebRTC. If it does end up dying, it will be death by a thousand cuts. Cuts made by integrating WebRTC into services and eating up smaller chunks of people’s interaction on Skype.

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  1. Social networking like Facebook and maybe LinkedIn (with WebRTC ?) is the (only ?) thing that can kill something like Microsoft/Skype.

    But WebRTC the standard isn’t about killing Microsoft/Skype. WebRTC will have even have ‘won’ if Microsoft/Skype will use WebRTC (if just using a small compatibility layer to talk to their CU-RTC-Web API works that is the same thing.).

  2. Good post!
    Couldn’t agree more.

  3. Twelephone’s latest release is very much skype-like except that it’s 100% HTML5 WebRTC. Check out this screencast demo –

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