BroadSoft Going Up Against Ribbit with VoIP Platform for Web Apps

Tomorrow BroadSoft, a VoIP software provider for telecom companies that’s been around since 1998, will officially announce a platform for integrating voice into web applications. The company’s new offering, BroadSoft Xtended, will enable developers to add voice capabilities to their applications and then showcase these applications in a centralized directory called the Xtended Marketplace.

Comparisons can be drawn most easily to Ribbit, which late last year debuted its own platform for integrating voice into web apps; the company even went so far as to call itself “Silicon Valley’s First Phone Company.” The idea of integrating VoIP into web apps, of course, is not restricted to these two companies: Jangl, Jaxtr, and TringMe all let you add simple call buttons to your website, for example. These aren’t exactly platforms, however – for another one of these, you’d have to look at something like MyVox, Lypp, or BT’s CallFlow, which was announced very recently itself.

Like Ribbit, BroadSoft doesn’t yet have many applications built on its platform and available for consumers – as of today just an Internet Explorer toolbar called Assistant Xtended and a Salesforce “unified connector”, although we’re told a dozen applications will be available tomorrow. Among these will be a Facebook application called ClicktoMessage that will allow users to place calls from profile pages. Except for this Facebook app, users who place calls using apps built on top of BroadSoft will need to be customers of one of the company’s 300 service providers, which include 7 of the top 10 carriers in the US (such as Verizon and Sprint).

One thing that’s not clear is how BroadSoft plans to make money from its platform. Developers will be able to use it for free and license their creations to service providers and end users for a price. This scheme contrasts with Ribbit’s plan to charge developers per call, and MyVox’s system of making money off voice advertisements.