Microsoft is closing its desktop client API. I see this as the positioning of Skype as a WebRTC alternative. I outlined this in more detail in Is Skype a WebRTC Killer. The revelation for me is that through Skype’s URI effort, they can effectively trump WebRTC by offering similar rich communications, but with some added benefits:
Skype will beat WebRTC with:
- Huge installed user base today (299 million users)
- Directory of users
- Native PSTN (and SIP) capabilities
- 100s of millions of Skype-enabled mobile devices.
- Native integration with an enterprise calling platform (Lync).
But the problem with the URI approach is that it is fairly limited, at least when compared to the API it is replacing. APIs can offer much more capabilities than URIs.
But the week after Microsoft’s news, Counterpath announced a new API its Bria softphone. The new API gives developers a platform to build and customize applications with access to and control over the Bria client. The API could expand the functionality of existing applications to include presence information, instant messaging, voice and video calls and retrieve contact information. It’s available with Bria 3.5 for Windows.
“Bria’s APIs extend across the browser as well as the desktop. We leveraged our APIs to build the first application for Outlook because it represented a great example of how 3rd party developers could leverage Bria as an alternative to solutions such as Microsoft’s Lync” said Todd Carothers, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Products at CounterPath. The Bria for Desktop API was originally used by CounterPath in conjunction with a Microsoft Outlook Add-In, to enable Bria calls to be placed from within the Outlook application.
By leveraging the Application API, third-party applications can perform commands such as:
- Place audio or video call
- Bring Bria GUI to front
- Call history
- Send an Instant Message
- Retrieve Contacts information, including Presence status
- Call status / System settings
- Answer call
- Call hold
- End call
- Voice Mail / MWI / Connect to VM Server