Microsoft has announced that it will be implementing the ORTC API for WebRTC in future versions of Internet Explorer. This means that IE users will soon be able to make Skype calls directly from the browser, without the need of any plugin.

For those not in the know, the WebRTC project was created to work with traditional telecom lines, and contains some complex legacy code, while ORTC is completely based on Javascript code. Both projects, however, are aimed at enabling web browsers with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities.

Microsoft along with over 80 other participants that represent a variety of browsers, communications experts and start-ups, has been actively collaborating with the W3C and IETF to contribute and improve standards like the ORTC API for WebRTC. The W3C ORTC Community Group has recently issued a Call for Implementations, which means that the ORTC specification has reached significant stability.

The software giant is pushing H.264 as the primary video codec, and will support Opus, G.722 and G.711 for voice.

"It's all about convenience - imagine you'll be able to simply open IE and make a Skype call to friends, family, or get real-time support for that new device right from your browser", said Shijun Sun, Senior Program Manager, Internet Explorer.

Moving forward, the Redmond-based company hopes that the standard will find widespread adoption and easier interoperability between web browsers and billions of existing communications endpoints, including SIP-based VoIP endpoints, PSTN, and Video Teleconferencing systems.