We have known for some time that Microsoft is doing work around webRTC (or a standard like it CU-RTC-WEB). Yesterday in a Q&A after his keynote at Enterprise Connect 2013 Derek Burney, Corporate VP Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Office Data, noted that Microsoft is excited about the prospects plugin-less media coming to Microsoft Lync. His comment:
“…the Microsoft Lync Web App uses a plugin today. Microsoft will support webRTC as soon as the standard is ratified. This is a super exciting initiative.”
This is of course not the first time Microsoft has mentioned Lync and webRTC. On Jan 17, 2013, Adalberto Foresti, Principal Program Manager Microsoft Open Technologies, on the interoperability@microsoft blog noted that Microsoft has a CU-RTC-Web prototype and that CU-RTC-WEB or even RTC-Web could be used with Microsoft Lyn'c’s new UCWA API:
“UCWA can be layered on the existing draft WebRTC API, however it would interoperate more easily with webRTC implementations if the standard adopted would follow a cleaner CU-RTC-Web proposal.”
Burney and Foresti both seem to have Microsoft Lync foremost in their minds as they think about webRTC (or Microsoft’s own initiative CU-RTC-Web). The two areas they have explicitly mentioned:
Aswath Rao, communication strategist at EnThinnai and webRTC watcher, notes that “Microsoft Lync already conforms to webRTC framework so it merely needs to align with webRTC once it is ratified.” The Microsoft Lync Web App is already doing the kind of functionality webRTC promises and achieves voice & video via a plugin today.
Observers have noted that webRTC is not likely to show up on all browsers for some time. But panelists at Enterprise Connect 2013 have noted that the benefits of webRTC could be realized sooner via webRTC plug-ins for browsers that do not initially support webRTC natively. This intermediate step could provide the benefit of replacing many plugins for one plugin until the browsers support it natively.
EC13 WebRtc Comment:
UCWA and WebRTC: