Google has released a new version of Chrome fitted with WebRTC. It is a collection of real-time communications protocols that includes everything to turn the browser into a high-end communications system. The browser-based calls will be clearer than mobile phone, as the former is equipped with built-in high-definition audio codecs. Mozilla and Opera are Google’s partners in this open project. Ericsson and Telefonica have already endorsed it.
Much of modern telecom regulation is about preventing the extension of market power for oligopolistic markets to relatively competitive markets. One method used to do this is bundling two products, one from the former and the other from the latter. Conventional antitrust envisaged both the products being sold for a price, or of one being given “free” with the other. In the case of the flurry of competition-law proceedings around Microsoft, one issue was the bundling of the Explorer browser (available for free download) with the Windows operating system. Finally the consumers are being given an explicit choice at the behest of the European Commission, and they are taking it.
Google’s entry into the browser space raised the question of the future of Mozilla. Mozilla is so far doing very well. But the question is really who will occupy the mobile set-top. That will decide the winner, at least in the short term. The rise of Firefox unleashed a new wave of innovation and competition among browser makers.