back to article Microsoft to bake Skype into IE, without plugins

Microsoft is going to try to bake Skype into Internet Explorer. In a post issued yesterday, Redmond indicates it's going to use the Object Real-Time Communications API for WebRTC (ORTC API for WebRTC) to ensure it becomes possible to “... simply open IE and make a Skype call”. The ORTC API is a W3C effort, as is WebRTC, so …

  1. DryBones

    Nice icon...

    Shame about the shite code and interface though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What? More bloat?

      IE can hardly run correctly as it is, I am not sure bolting skype onto it will make it run any better,

      1. dogged

        Re: What? More bloat?

        IE runs pretty well, especially compared to the mungy bloatfest that is Chrome.

        I still prefer Firefox but it's getting flaky as it ages.

      2. Brian Souder 1

        Re: What? More bloat?

        "IE can hardly run correctly as it is, I am not sure bolting skype onto it will make it run any better,"

        I was thinking how am I going to turn it off when it starts crashing IE. Same thing with Office 2013 - have to turn off half of their plugins so it will settle down.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice icon...

      Shame about the shite code and interface though

      .. and the baked in intercept code..

  2. et tu, brute?

    Can someone please tell Microsoft...

    ...we really do not want every possible feature all together in a single program!

    Create it as an add-on, so we at least have the choice to install/enable/disable/uninstall it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can someone please tell Microsoft...

      Yes and no. The problem is that one of those "everything in one" apps is the key hook why companies have remained MS users, even on other platforms: Outlook.

      I cannot count the number of occasions where an entire "let's migrate away from MS" project was nuked by the simple question "what shall we replace Outlook with" - like it or loath it, as yet, nobody has come up with a sensible, usable alternative. I know there's one being prepared (note to self, prod the developers for a beta), but until now, Outlook is a confirmation of the "all in one" strategy so I can see why MS is trying to do with the same tool they used to kill Kenny Netscape with.

      1. MrDamage Silver badge

        sensible, usable alternative.

        Lotus Notes?

        I'll get my coat. Its the flameproof one lined with kevlar.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: sensible, usable alternative.

          MS Outlook, using Zarafa and Postfix as the back-end.

          1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            @Re: sensible, usable alternative.

            "MS Outlook, using Zarafa and Postfix as the back-end."

            I read that as "using post-it notes as a back-end", which seemed a fair description.

  3. tempemeaty

    IE, an added operatunity to be watched...

    Considering there seems an issue may exist with Skype activating your Webcam on it's own. Now we can enjoy ourselves being watched by Redmond/NSA with IE open as well?

    1. solo

      Free? Product? Who? Copyright? Saleable?

      If you are using a free webcam software (IE is a free product shipped with a paid OS, right?), you are product.

      ...I am tired. Can I stop smiling now?

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Free? Product? Who? Copyright? Saleable?

        Pray tell, which paid-for browser are you using then?

        1. solo

          Re: Free? Product? Who? Copyright? Saleable?

          That is the point. Now you can not save yourself from being a product even if you are willing to pay for it. So, essentially we all are 'Forced Labor' now.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Safari? You "pay" for it when you buy a Mac/iDevice, and since Apple makes their money off hardware rather than ads, you are still their customer, instead of their product, and they treat you a bit better as a result. Well, so long as you can get over not having any cheap options to obtain that hardware....

          Pay more up front but not be tracked (or at least tracked much less) or save money up front but "pay" in the form of giving up privacy. Your choice.

          I don't think Firefox on Linux is tracking you, though if you use Google Search instead of DuckDuckGo or the like you're still getting tracked. And web sites can use cookies, unless you disable those. And your IP address, unless you use some sort of VPN or anonymizer service...

          1. solo

            Re: @monkeyfish

            "..(or at least tracked much less).."

            Just like Whisper tracks you much less than others? Come on. It's either you respect privacy or you don't. Heard of geofencing support in iOS?

            And Firefox? They also have their WebRTC implementation. Why they cannot, for a change, revolt against the standards and say that we are just a web browser not a do-it-all secure-in-all-trade business. I browsers don't miss another POODLE for another decade while all the bright minds are on video chatting.

    2. wdmot

      Re: IE, an added operatunity to be watched...



      I see what you did there...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    at least you'll know it's there

    One thing Microsoft can do it keep their products in peoples faces, brand recognition, one click away etc. How long have Google had video chat, yet most people who use Chrome don't even know you can do video calls through it. Try to Google it to find out what is offered and get confused, they'll probably rename it yet again and move it somewhere else, wouldn't want anyone to find it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: at least you'll know it's there

      +1 for bringing Google on the same page. They made an entire OS out of a browser.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: at least you'll know it's there

        +1 for bringing Google on the same page. They made an entire OS out of a browser.

        .. which is actually the concept Netscape started with (which is why Microsoft decided they had to be starved of oxygen pretty damn quickly).

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Oh god....Messenger debacle MK2

    I have been a staunch IE user since day 0.

    I have resisted the likes of Chrome (especially), fire fox, opera et-all simply because IE fulfilled my needs for a browser. However, the bloat is starting to set in.. I detest Skype and i detest having the fucker hard baked in to my browser of choice even more...

    So, i ditched messenger due to Skype and switched to an alternative, looks like i will be doing the same with my browser..

    Way to go MS.... Keep going........My MS Love-o-meter just took another dive...

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Even more reason to

    Rename IEXPLORE.EXE to


    Come on MS, do us all a favour and let us remove this blot on the landscape if we so desire.

    And... do we really need Skype on Windows Server? If you do, you can install it

    But seriously NO, No and Thrice No.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non-MS platforms

    ...makes we wonder what they're planning to do to non-MS platforms. I'm already forced to use Skype on my Mac because the family back home all use it and I haven't yet found an interoperable SIP client or similar.

    1. tony2heads

      Re: Non-MS platforms

      There is no interoperable SIP, Skype is a proprietary protocol

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: Non-MS platforms

        Alternatively you could have them move to SIP...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Non-MS platforms

        "There is no interoperable SIP, Skype is a proprietary protocol"

        There are SIP-SKYPE gateways though ...

    2. Jess

      Re: forced to use Skype on my Mac

      I have just moved my family (and also a friends family) onto iChat (using google accounts), because old versions of Skype no longer connect. (The new Skype is Intel only and quite unpleasant to use)

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: forced to use Skype on my Mac

        I have just moved my family (and also a friends family) onto iChat (using google accounts), because old versions of Skype no longer connect. (The new Skype is Intel only and quite unpleasant to use)

        So, jumping from a stupidly closed proprietary protocol to another I see. And in 2 years when iChat changes skin colour to something you don't like, you'll move everyone to TwitChat using MS Live accounts I suppose? And 6 month after that... what? Some people never learn.

        Standard protocols. Use them.

  8. Zog_but_not_the_first

    A great pity

    I thought the effort MS had put into recent versions of IE was beginning to pay off. And now they seem set to ruin it with this development.

    If I can remove IE from my system together with any unwanted "improvements" I'll happy switch to Firefox full time, no problem. If...

    What's driving these seemingly odd developments?

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    What is this 'skype' you speak of?

    ... tin cans and string in the pocket.

  10. Mint Sauce

    I seem to be the only person left...

    .. who likes to have separate software for different jobs. I like my PDF's to open in the software of my choice, the same for documents, spreadsheets etc. I like to keep browser windows for browsing, and switch to other applications for other tasks.

    I think I must be a dinosaur - hey ho!

  11. Extra spicey vindaloo

    Skype has stopped working

    I've not been able to use skype to call my family for over 6 months, calls just don't go through or you get Missed call messages but no indication that you are receiving a call. I'm looking for alternatives that don't require facebook / twitter / upload my entire address book to use, I've not found one yet that works on PC + Android + iOS

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Skype has stopped working

      QQ is better features than Skype and works on every platform I think.

      QQ replaces Skype

      From the biggest ISP you never heard of!

      Which is worse (potentially) the Chinese listening or NSA/Microsoft?

      Unless you are in China / Hong Kong / Taiwan the question doesn't really need answered.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype has stopped working

        I think it is ironic and pretty hilarious that Americans are now more secure using Chinese internet services for VOIP than US services. And the reverse is true for Chinese citizens, except if the service gets big enough to be noticed the Great Firewall will block it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no thanks

    I stopped using Skpe (on Linux) the moment that Microsoft bought it. I just don't trust them.

    This development confirms my fears, now the NSA will switch on the web-cam at any time they like.

  13. Mage Silver badge


    Stupid people.

    I'd never run Skype as a plug in and always disabled the insecure and web page breaking of Skype linking to what it thinks are phone numbers in a web page.

    What next in a Web Browser?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One shitty application forever wedded to another....

    A marriage made in hell.

  15. TechicallyConfused


    IE just got 25% slower then....

  16. jaywin

    It's not just about Skype

    Have any of the other commenters actually read the Microsoft post?

    Yes, this technology will allow them to implement Skype in IE, but it will be by using open web standards, not by merging the proprietary Skype code into the IE codebase. It also means you will be able to create video and voice RTC web applications, without writing plug ins or using the likes of Flash.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not just about Skype

      The core problem is that the standards MS claim they are using are not designed for desktop systems, so the scope for things breaking (because you are trying to force it to do something it was not designed to do) has just gone *way* up.

      1. jaywin

        Re: It's not just about Skype

        But, firstly, that's not what the other commenters are all complaining about - they're complaining about Skype making IE bloated / unstable / spyware, and that they want to turn it off - basically assuming that the current Skype code is going to be embedded into IE to force people to use it. It's not.

        Secondly, the ORTC group say this on the W3C CG page "The mission of the Object Real-Time Communications Community Group, is to define Object-centric APIs (client-side at first) to enable Real-Time Communications in Web browsers, Mobile endpoints and Servers.", but on they say "Our mission: To enable rich, high quality, RTC applications to be developed in mobile endpoints and servers via native toolkits, simple Javascript APIs and HTML5. It is also a mandate that Object RTC be compatible with WebRTC." - I suspect that most of the CG imagine that mobile is the primary use of these APIs, not that it should only be used on mobiles. I can't find anything from them which says it is not designed for use on the desktop.

        Finally, remember that the version of IE on desktop has the same features and support as IE on Windows Phone. By building these features for IE, they're not just targeting the desktop, they're also targeting mobile, which falls right into agreement with what the ORTC CG have said.

  17. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Bake it

    into firefox and I might be tempted to use it

    IE... that POS is used on first install to download another browser... and thats it

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They never learn do they.

    Making the browser more rich and adding tons of features = more security holes.

    1. jaywin

      Have you told Google and Firefox to stop developing their browsers too?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    +1 for QQ

    Just make sure you get the International version, as the standard version is Chinese only and packed with crapware.

  20. DrXym

    Skype is a very large piece of software

    I hope whatever they "bake" into IE is just a relatively small VOIP plugin hooked up to a webservice that implements the rest of the protocol. No need for the bloat of the client really.

  21. P. Lee

    Look at the business webcams

    They do hardware x264 encoding which means all the browser needs to do is the presence coordination, show the video window and pick the quality settings.

    I find Skype on Linux quite reasonable- at least there are no ads as there are In the windows version. As far as security goes, I think it already uses ie for the interface rendering as they found they had forgotten to disable JS in IM a while ago.

    This is MS' imessage/FaceTime play. It is a good play for them but whether it's enough to rescue their mobile biz is debatable. It will require businesses to start paying for their employees' smartphones which I can't see happening at this stage.

    Google are going to have lift their game. It should be quite easy. Webrtc and a presence search facility.

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