Skype Calls Go Plugin Free With Windows 10 Edge Browser Preview

It's long been a goal of Microsoft's to make Skype plugin free on the web, and by the end of the month, the Redmond outfit will achieve that goal when using Skype on its Edge browser. Without any downloads or plugins to install, Skype users will have access to real-time voice, video, and group calling through Skype for Web,, Office Online, and OneDrive.

"Plugin-free calling in Edge is the first step towards an interoperable, standards-based calling experience in Skype and Skype for Business, so that Skype users on any modern platform can communicate without the need for plugins or downloads.," Microsoft Edge Program Manager Kyle Pflug announced in a blog post.

Skype Edge

It was back in October of 2014 that Microsoft said its aim was to "make browser-based calls more convenient by removing the need to download a plugin," and so it began collaborating with W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) to improve standards towards that goal.

The plugin free experience that's emerged is powered by the Object RTC (ORTC) media engine, an API that Microsoft recently embedded in Edge. ORTC enables a wide variety of features that Skype uses, everything from simple conversation to scalable multiparty video conferences.

What about Chrome and Firefox? Both browsers support the older (but similar) WebRTC API. Microsoft hasn't been real keen on promoting WebRTC, though it did say earlier this week that it was looking to improve the level of WebRTC compatibility in Edge for basic one-to-one audio and video communications.

As for the plug-in free experience through Edge, you can preview the functionality right now with the latest version of Edge in Windows 10 version 1511.