Chris Kranky

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Message to our rich Uncle Google, send money!

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

51B9cds5HfL._SY300_The web is big (indeed). Each of these little pages are being served up by something called a “web server”.  There are 634 million web sites around the world and some web server is dishing up those pages. In the early days of the Internet, vendors were crawling all over themselves thinking that the market for web servers would measure into the billions of dollars.

Sadly, Apache destroyed any hope of there being a stand alone market for HTML servers. The Apache open source engine (and there are obviously others) is easy to install (a few lines of Linux commands), powerful, reliable and it works. Oh and it’s free. Microsoft appears to be the sole exception of a company making much of a commercial market and I might even argue that.

One hesitates to think how the world of the Internet might have evolved had each of us had to purchase  HTML server software. Take it up one order in the stack, imagine what would happen to the 59 million websites that run WordPress as their primary engine, if WordPress were a $499 program?

Price matters and none of us should discount the power of free as an incentive to experiment and innovate.

I predict a similar fate for WebRTC. The money is not going to be made where you initially think it will. There is a sizable market for WordPress templates and various consulting services. The biggest spend is going to be on the actual application built and that’s where the focus has to be. Billions have been spent developing web pages.

As Tsahi Levent-Levi points out in his No Jitter blog posting, you’ve got to be hell bent to build a WebRTC application today. You’re starting from scratch and loads of mistakes to endure. All sorts of issues both on the client and server end and virtually no breadcrumbs to follow.  It can be done, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

However, if we (the industry) don’t figure out how to make WebRTC approachable (meaning easy and low cost), the risk is it becomes a specialty  limited to those chosen few who’ve become the Zenmasters of it’s secrets. Clearly this will limit innovation, adoption and the creation of new services in communications.

Google has done an admirable job of ponying up money to assemble our WebRTC tricycle. They’ve engaged their buildings of lawyers to fend off the industry patent trolls who lurk the hallways on communication technology. But it’s not enough, WebRTC is going to need additional pushes to get it across the line and we need to encourage, support and cajole Google to continue it’s efforts.