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Microsoft Spartan & WebRTC

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

195532-netapplications_browser_stats_april_2010_originalTsahi “respectfully” disagreed with my last blog post. But he and I both concluded on the same point, unless you are in the “browser” business – your “vote” is no more important than mine is when voting for the next American Idol. My point is there are often hidden business agendas in nearly every technical decision.

Microsoft has been busy with a new amp’d up team of technical folks to yap up the new Spartan browser. These tech folks are actively setting up demolition points on the Bridge over the River Chrome. It’s good television, a mixture of facts, extended truths and promise for the future.

Their attack on Chrome centers on three (3) critical blast points, they are:

Bloatware – you know it, I know it, Chrome seems to have gotten a little laggy and buggy of late. The early cleanness and snap didn’t get fully lost, but frankly, I don’t love Chrome as much as I used to. Maybe I just need a change and that is exactly what Microsoft is hoping. Is Chrome really bloated? It’s no IE6 for sure but …

Change – Microsoft advocates that Google has the Three Stooges running their release processes. With every fix, something gets broken and there is often little advance notice when Google drops a new version of Chrome and 500 million desktops magically upgrade overnight. In the WebRTC arena, nearly every developer has screamed about this on multiple occasions as what worked yesterday on WebRTC is broken today.   Microsoft’s argument is Chrome is not something an Enterprise should really consider seriously. They’ve already won this point, but no harm saying they still have this.

Standards – Microsoft slams Google for making up their own standards as they go along, not listening to developers and pretty much deciding we’re all too stupid to know what’s good for us. That seems a bit harsh, I’d argue progress comes for those willing to step outside the circle, move the needle, take a risk. Nonetheless, there has plenty of grumblers in the last years. You can’t keep everyone happy.

Will Spartan have WebRTC? Depends on what day you ask. It’s clearly a list of want to have, but when is a bit fuzzier. I think it doubtful for Version 1 but clearly on the list for this year.

I do applaud Microsoft, as I write I have 10 tabs open on Chrome and find myself clicking back and forth all day, often forgetting what I was doing on that tab. Thus I’d agree, maybe it’s time for a different version of browser experience.

Clearly, Microsoft is thinking about collaboration (co-browsing/annotations) and two-way communications and thus WebRTC/ORTC is on the list of things to do. Whether Spartan will be enough of a radical and desirable departure from the current experience to move the masses remains to be seen.

To feel the pain, this graphic is the market share data from 2010. Clearly things have changed.