Who says the TED conference is only about movie stars and old basketball players? According to MarketWatch columnist Herb Greenberg, TED will be the official launching pad for MagicJack, a USB-based VoIP offering from telecom vet Dan (Tel-Save) Borislow that could make Skype’s simple setup look […]

Who says the TED conference is only about movie stars and old basketball players? According to MarketWatch columnist Herb Greenberg, TED will be the official launching pad for MagicJack, a USB-based VoIP offering from telecom vet Dan (Tel-Save) Borislow that could make Skype’s simple setup look like calculus.

According to the just-live MagicJack website, the main “magic” appears to be an oversized-looking thumb-drive thingy with a USB connector on one end, and an analog phone jack on the other. Greenberg’s column says the total price for a device and a yearly subscription for all-you-can-eat dialing in the U.S. and Canada should be between $50 and $60 $29 and $39 the first year, $19.99 a year thereafter; so far, no other details have surfaced on how the pricing, connection and billing actually work, and whether it won’t be another free-calling fiasco.

Asking whether it could be a Skype-killer, like Greenberg does, is pure linkbait — at $50-60 $29-39 for the first year, $19.99 per year thereafter plus international charges, ain’t no way that’s gonna beat free, especially since millions of folks have found Skype plenty simple and already have it installed. But is MagicJack the type of innovation that should have communications conglomerators like Cisco, Microsoft and Avaya worried? Much more likely, but that doesn’t fit as nicely in a headline.

UPDATE 1: Pricing info from Greenberg column corrected throughout.

UPDATE 2: See some additional info from Borislow in comments.

Hat tip to IP Democracy for the link.

  1. What is so great about that MagicJack? I don’t see a breaktrough.

    It lets you make phone calls only while your computer is switched on. When it’s off you cannot even receive calls. The MagicJack is basically a softphone on a USB stick, bundled with a $60 dollar a year VoIP contract. – That seems quite expensive and uncomfortable to me.

    E. g. with the VoIP provider Voipstunt I have unlimited calls to USA, Canada, Germany, UK and other 30 countries – for about 36 dollars a year (= 10 Euros for 120 days).

    I have Voipstunt installed on my analog telephony adapter (Fritz!Box), which connects my normal phone to my DSL connection. This means that I can make those VoIP calls and receive calls when my computer is switched off. It’s works like normal PSTN telephony, but is much cheaper.

    I am really not impressed by this MagicJack. It seems as uncomfortable as Skype to me, which annoys me much because it works only when my computer is switched on.

    Maybe they want to address clients which don’t understand VoIP. But often the VoIP providers consider their clientes too stupid.

    This Jack is not so magic!

    To me it seems too uncomfortable and its contract too expensive. Looking for solutions from abroad the USA you would have found much better and cheaper solutions, for instance the one I use: Fritz!Box + Voipstunt from Germany.

  2. The site mentions follow me forwarding as a built in feature so you can recieve calls on your cell if your pc isn’t on.

    The second year charges are supposed to be $20/year from what I’ve read elsewhere. The first year charges are higher for the hardware cost.

    If it works and they stay in business, $20 a year isn’t a lot to pay. Wheres the profit coming from?

    They are supposed to be giving away 1,500 ‘magicjacks’ to get the ball rolling.

    1. I own & use 2 magic jacks. LOVE THEM. I can forward the magic jack no. to my home ph. no. & if I am doing business on the internet or want to list something where folks CANNOT TRACE my ph. no. BACK TO MY HOME ADDRESS, I simple us the magic jack no. Because I have it forwarded to my home ph., it comes here automatically anyway. LOVE IT.

      And when I travel, I take it w/me, plug it in my laptop & forward my home phone (Vonage) onto my Magic Jack – so I get ALL MY HOME phone calls WHEREVER I am.

      Love it!

      1. i need to get in touch with magie jack i need the phone number ok thanks

      2. can icancel my b/south phone service keep my bellsouth dsl only and use my majic jack to forward calls to my cell phone,site does not say free call forwarding.is call forwarding extra charge

  3. The site mentions follow me forwarding as a built
    in feature so you can recieve calls on your cell if
    your pc isn’t on.

    OK, at least they offer this. I really dislike to switch my computer on just to make a phone call or to get one. That’s no advancement in phone convenience but a decline.

  4. WRONG.

    Didn’t anyone listen or read?!

    The initial cost will be $30 – $40 for the magicJack device…with FREE unlimited local and long distance calls – through your analog phone (or headset on PC if your prefer). No subscription or fees the first year whatsoever. Each add’l year is planned at around $20.00.

    PLUS you can have your entire home wirelessly making FREE calls.

    There is so much more.
    Making rash and unfounded comments prior to knowing the facts seems very, well, wrong – to say the least. Markus Göbel states in his web site he is a journalist?

  5. Paul Kapustka Friday, March 9, 2007

    C’mon Andrew, it’s all a bit of speculation until we see an “official” release with exact pricing, configurations, etc. I just wonder how this is going to be better than say, a cordless Skype phone (several coming out lately).

    Also — why give the devices away to TED attendees, like those folks need cheap calls?

  6. Seth Tobias Friday, March 9, 2007

    Herb Greenberg has been using the device (in beta)for quite awhile. The MagicJack’s functionality will make it a category killer. I know. I have been involved with its development for years. To think that this is just another VOIP offer is just plain naive…

  7. Paul Kapustka Friday, March 9, 2007

    Seth, more details? What makes it so different?

  8. What makes the magicJack so different?
    1.Ease of use.There is no other device in the world,where you plug into a USB,up and running in a minute with plug and play and you plug in a telephone.This is one of a kind.

    2.The price for the device and service will be unmatched.For the $40 or so dollars,you will get free LD and Local for a year,you will get a memory stick,you will get software and you will have the only single device that enables click to call.

    3.The Network is considerably different than all others.We have 31 Gateways that enables us to achieve the best quality,and the lowest cost structure.There isn’t another consumer marketing company,that can say the same.

    4.The CLEC is certified in 49 states with interconnection everywhere.This is a real Phone company.

    The list goes on.To compare Skype to magicJack is disgraceful.Their quality of service is far inferior to magicJack as they use their customers own computers for their Network.That is the largest reason Skype has done little in US,Americans won’t put up with this service level.

    1. I love the ideal of magicjack but i contantly have problems with my magicjack. The problems stem from droping calls, not being able to use the magic at all sometimes, and i really do think its because i have windows vista. It seems to me that the internet exployer is always not letting magicjack connect with the pc and thats where all the problems begin.

      Is there anyway this problem can be fixed or corrected.
      Please look into it and also I can not upgrade my magicjack my pc is not letting me.

    2. I promote the “magic jack” to all my friends & neighbors & anyone who will listen. I just bought one for my brother-in-law to use in his FL vacation home.

      When I am home, I have my magic jack ph. no. forwarded to my home phone (Vonage) so I don’t have to check on my e-mail account for missed calls. They come right to me.

      I LOVE THE FACT that NO ONE CAN TRACE my magic jack ph. no. to MY HOME. Dan, you are MISSING OUT ON USING THAT AS ADVERTISING INFO. If anyone has a phone on Vonage for instance, I just go in, change my home ph. to magic jack & if I’m on the road ANYWHERE in the U.S., the home phone calls & any magic jack phone calls to that number come to me.

      WHAT COULD BE EASIER? I should do a commercial for you!

  9. [...] gigaom] postato da Alessandro Ferrazzi il venerdì 09 marzo 2007 [...]

  10. Paul Kapustka Friday, March 9, 2007

    Dan, any chance you could send us contact info or provide more concrete details on connection methods, pricing, etc.? Clearly this is going to be of big interest to our readers and there seems to be some apples-to-oranges comparisons going on… I mean, Skype is free last time I checked (for Internet calling) so it’s still hard for me to see how MagicJack qualifies as a Skype killer. Maybe a PSTN landline killer or Vonage killer, but for lots of Skype users I am guessing they are happy with the quality at the zero-cost level.

    Anyway, you can reach me directly via kaps at gigaom dot com.


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