MagicJack

Last updated

MagicJack
FoundedMarch 8, 2007;11 years ago (2007-03-08)
Founders Dan Borislow and Donald Burns
OwnerYMax
Website Official website

magicJack is a device that plugs into a USB port on the user's computer (or in the case of magicJack Plus, plugs directly into a router) and has a standard RJ-11 phone jack into which any standard phone can be plugged. This allows the user to make unlimited phone calls to the U.S. and Canada. It is a computer peripheral that, in combination with telephony service from the related YMAX Corporation, provides Internet-based telephone service (VoIP) to the United States and Canada. In 2011 the company introduced magicJack Plus, which no longer requires a computer (but still requires the user to have an Internet service provider).

Registered jack electrical connector

A registered jack (RJ) is a standardized telecommunication network interface for connecting voice and data equipment to a service provided by a local exchange carrier or long distance carrier. Registration interfaces were first defined in the Universal Service Ordering Code (USOC) system of the Bell System in the United States for complying with the registration program for customer-supplied telephone equipment mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the 1970s. They were subsequently codified in title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 68.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

Contents

The magicJack device works exclusively with the company's captive landline supplier and CLEC (Competitive local exchange carrier), YMAX. Voicemail is stored on the magicJack servers and is delivered via direct telephone access, and email with WAV audio file attachments. Downloadable feature upgrades for the magicJack USB dongle are available from third-party software companies.

A competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), in the United States and Canada, is a telecommunications provider company competing with other, already established carriers.

Waveform Audio File Format is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing an audio bitstream on PCs. It is an application of the Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) bitstream format method for storing data in "chunks", and thus is also close to the 8SVX and the AIFF format used on Amiga and Macintosh computers, respectively. It is the main format used on Microsoft Windows systems for raw and typically uncompressed audio. The usual bitstream encoding is the linear pulse-code modulation (LPCM) format.

Dongle small piece of hardware that attaches to computer or other electronic device

Dongles were originally created in the 1970s to protect computer software which would function only if the dongle was plugged in – see the History section below.

History

CEO Dan Borislow invented the product in 2007 and had applied for patents from the U.S. government while he and Donald Burns shared the payment of $25 million to start up the company. [1] [2]

Dan Borislow American entrepreneur, sports team owner and thoroughbred horse breeder

Daniel Marc Borislow was an American entrepreneur, sports team owner, inventor, and thoroughbred horse breeder. Originating in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, Borislow attended Widener University and worked in cable construction and landscaping before going into the telephone business. He founded Tel-Save, Inc. to resell access to AT&T long-distance lines in 1989. Borislow took the company public in 1995, and two years later brokered a $100 million deal with AOL at the "Cafe Europa" that made it the exclusive telephone service of its users. At its peak in early 1998, Tel-Save had sales of $300 million and was valued by Wall Street investors at $2 billion. However, due to the financial strain of paying off the AOL deal, Tel-Save lost $221 million in 1999, and Borislow sold his stock for approximately $300 million and retired.

The firm's first product, introduced in 2007, is a USB device that has both the software necessary to place Internet-based telephone calls via a customer-supplied high-speed Internet connection and the electronics (technically known as a SLIC, or Subscriber Line Interface Circuit) which allow conventional landline telephones to be plugged directly into the device. [3]

USB industry standard

USB is an industry standard that establishes specifications for cables, connectors and protocols for connection, communication and power supply between personal computers and their peripheral devices. Released in 1996, the USB standard is currently maintained by the USB Implementers Forum. There have been three generations of USB specifications: USB 1.x, USB 2.0 and USB 3.x.

Software non-tangible executable component of a computer

Computer software, or simply software, is a collection of data or computer instructions that tell the computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.

Line card

A line card or digital line card is a modular electronic circuit designed to fit on a separate printed circuit board (PCB) and interface with a telecommunications access network.

In September 2011 the company introduced magicJack Plus, which does not require the use of a computer after its initial online registration and account set-up procedure. The device connects directly to a modem or router's ethernet port, and has a standard phone jack (which allows a phone to be connected to the device) as well as an AC power adapter that plugs into a standard U.S. electrical outlet. [4]

The products are promoted through television infomercials and a website. The company's website attributes the invention of magicJack and the founding of YMAX to Dan Borislow, who has numerous patent claims pending on voice-over-IP (VoIP)-related technology.

An infomercial is a form of television commercial, which generally includes a toll-free telephone number or website. Most often used as a form of direct response television (DRTV), long-form infomercials are typically 28:30 or 58:30 minutes in length. Infomercials are also known as paid programming. This phenomenon started in the United States, where infomercials were typically shown overnight, outside peak prime time hours for commercial broadcasters. Some television stations chose to air infomercials as an alternative to the former practice of signing off. Some channels air infomercials 24 hours. By 2009, most infomercial spending in the U.S. occurred during the early morning, daytime and evening hours, or in the afternoon. Stations in most countries around the world have instituted similar media structures. The infomercial industry is worth over $200 billion.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also called IP telephony, is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet telephony, broadband telephony, and broadband phone service specifically refer to the provisioning of communications services over the public Internet, rather than via the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

In July 2010, YMAX (the creator/owner of MagicJack) merged with VocalTec to form magicJack VocalTec Ltd which is headquartered in Netanya, Israel (NASDAQ :  CALL). [5]

Reviews

In January 2008, PC Magazine reviewed magicJack [6] and rated it as Very Good. It also received their Editors' Choice award. In February 2009, PC Magazine re-reviewed magicJack [7] because of dozens of complaints received about the support for the device. As a result, PC Magazine reduced its rating of magicJack from Very Good to Good, saying the company's technical support was "severely lacking." [8] The company offers support only via web-based chat.

Consumer Reports gave magicJack a thumbs up in the February 2010 print issue. [9]

In 2016 TheVoIPHub released the most comprehensive review of magicJack seen to date, including information on every device they have ever released. [10]

Local number portability

In September 2011 magicJack began offering local number portability, with an annual fee to keep the "ported-in" number. This allows customers to keep their existing phone number when switching to magicJack. MagicJack charges its customers to transfer their telephone number out of their MagicJack telephone service into a different telephone service provider. Not all US area codes are available. [11]

Calling pay services

According to their EULA (End User License Agreement):

3.b Outgoing Calls: "Once you have registered your magicJack device you have agreed to these Terms of Service. You may now elect to choose the feature allowing you to make free outgoing calls over the Internet. You can make free calls to other magicJack device users located anywhere in the world, and to subscribers on traditional telephone networks or wireless networks in the United States. You will not have the ability to call any number that would require the addition of any charges to your phone bill, such as 900 or 976 numbers or any other 'fee per call' type service." [12]

Not all calls in North America are free

A separate prepaid minutes purchase is required for calls to conference lines, platforms, calling cards, certain non-ILEC area calls, area code 867 (Northern Canada) and most of Alaska.

According to MagicJack's EULA (End User License Agreement):

4. What Is Free and What is Not: "We may require prepaid purchase and/or we may charge you for calls to conference lines, platforms and certain non-ILEC area calls, or any call wherein we incur a cost from another carrier. We may provide for a fee, premium prepaid services, which may be powered by YMAX Communications Corp. (YMAX), and may include some inbound, international, conference, platform and outbound calls that receive a recording and certain calls to non-ILEC areas, and the rates for those services will be governed by listed price lists or tariffs. International calling purchases expire six months after purchase. magicJack, YMAX Communications Corp. (YMAX), and/or Vocal Tec may make available to you, for an additional fee, enhanced versions of the magicJack and/or magicJack Plus device or magicJack APP Software (Upgraded Software) that provide new features and functions." [12]

Uninstallation

Originally magicJack did not provide an uninstallation method in either the software or the documentation, causing a lot of users to get very upset with the company. As a result, since 2010, the version for the Windows platform has had an uninstaller accessible through the "Add/Remove Programs" in the Windows Control Panel.

Lawsuits

In March 2009, MagicJack took legal action for defamation against Boing Boing over its assessment of MagicJack's terms of service, [13] which included assertions that the MagicJack End User License Agreement (EULA) allows the company to "snoop" on users by analyzing their calls for the purpose of targeting advertising and that the EULA requires users to waive the right to sue in court. [14] MagicJack's suit was determined to be a strategic lawsuit against public participation and was dismissed. MagicJack was also ordered to pay Boing Boing's legal expenses of $50,000 US. [13]

MagicJack sued netTalk in April 2012 for patent infringement. The federal court has dismissed the entire case with prejudice, including all claims, counterclaims, defenses and causes of action. [15]

On September 21, 2012, NetTalk.com, Inc. filed a complaint in United States District Court For the Southern District of Florida, Civil Action No.: 9:12-cv-81022-CIV-MIDDLEBROOK/BRANNON, against MAGICJACK VOCALTECLTD, MAGIJACK HOLDINGS CORPORATION f/k/a YMAX HOLDINGS CORPORATION and DANIEL BORISLOW. In the complaint, netTalk alleges patent infringement by the defendants, seeking injunctive relief and damages of two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) as a result of the alleged patent infringement by defendants.

As a result of this action, MAGICJACK/ VOCALTEC LTD filed a document with the United States Patent Office (“USPTO”) requesting reexamination of netTALK patent 8,243,722. The USPTO granted the reexamination petition and the claim against MAGICJACK/VOVALTEC LTD was stayed pending the outcome of the USPTO reexamination.

In December 2013 netTALK received a USPTO Notice of Intent to Issue Ex Parte Reexamination Certificate (“NIRC”) for netTALK’s U.S. Patent Number 8,243,722.

In January 2014, netTALK petitioned the courts to restart the aforementioned lawsuit against MAGICJACK VOCALTECLTD, MAGIJACK HOLDINGS CORPORATION f/k/a YMAX HOLDINGS CORPORATION and DANIEL BORISLOW. The case is set for trial in early 2015.

On February 27, 2014, netTALK received the reexamination certificate which restated that all three claims of the ‘722 Patent are deemed allowable by the USPTO. The three claims of the ‘722 Patent were minimally amended during the proceeding. [16]

On April 2, 2014 DANIEL BORISLOW and TECHNOCHAT INC. sued MAGICJACK VOCALTEC LTD and YMAX CORP for defamation, fraudulent inducement and many other allegations. [17] In December 2014, the case was settled out of court by Daniel Borislow's widow. [18]

See also

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References

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  2. "magicJack VocalTec Communications' CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results" . Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  3. Kritsonis, Ted (March 12, 2008). "MagicJack casts fair spell". The Globe and Mail . Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  4. Furchgott, Roy (September 1, 2011). "Skype Now Wants Your Landline". New York Times.
  5. "VocalTec and YMAX/magicJack Announce Merger" YMAX. 16 Jul 2010. Last accessed 13 May 2011.
  6. Rist, Oliver (January 17, 2008). "YMax magicJack". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  7. Morejon, Mario (February 2009). "YMax magicJack (Winter 2009)". PC Magazine .
  8. Costa, Dan (February 2009). "The Complicated Case of magicJack". PC Magazine .
  9. Mandle, Nick (6 January 2010). "Magic Jack: A great deal with a few limitations". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  10. "Exclusive Expert MagicJack Review - 2016 Update - [Legit or Scam?]" . Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  11. "MagicJack FAQ".
  12. 1 2 "Terms of Service and Software License Agreement for magicJack, LP and YMAX Communications Corporation and VocalTec Communications Corp". MagicJack. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  13. 1 2 Mic, Jason (24 February 2010). "MagicJack Loses Junk Suit Against Site that Revealed it Spied on Users". DailyTech. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  14. Beschizza, Rob (14 April 2008). "MagicJack's EULA says it will spy on you and force you into arbitration". Boing Boing. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  15. Elmore, Charles (September 21, 2012). "Competitor claims magicJack is infringing on patent".
  16. "NET TALK.COM, INC. (NTLK) 10-K filed 5/8/2014". Edgar Online. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  17. "DANIEL BORISLOW and TECHNOCHAT INC. v. MAGICJACK VOCALTEC LTD and YMAX CORP". Scribd. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  18. "MagicJack inventor's death leaves pile of lawsuits". 25 January 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2016.