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Magic Jack Plus Finally Shipping

magic-jack-plus-300 After being announced to much fanfare at CES 2011 it seems that MagicJack Vocaltec is finally shipping their new MagicJack Plus. The MagicJack Plus device still has a USB plug permitting its use with a computer. However, it also has a network jack allowing it to function as a freestanding FXS device, not unlike a traditional ATA.

This dual-mode operation offers greater flexibility in the face of competition from the like of NetTalk, whose “Duo” interface device doesn’t require the use of a computer. It also answers the wishes of people who have been hacking thin clients to provide a low-cost, low-power platform to host their Magic Jack service*.

The New York Times’ Gadgetwise makes mention of Magic Jack Plus in a piece that is largely focused on Skype’s new home phone line interface device. Over at the Unofficial Magic Jack Support forum users have reported the MJ+ devices started to arrive mid-August. 

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YMAX and VocalTech Merging

Barron’s has a curious story about the merger of YMAX and Vocaltech. YMAX is the Florida-based parent company of Magic Jack. VocalTech, based in Israel, is one of the software pioneers of the voice-over-IP revolution. From their roots in the first retail soft phone they went on to become an early leader in VoIP to PSTN gateways.

My very first exposure to VoIP was using Vocaltech’s Internet phone software way back in 1997. At that point I was on dial-up and Internet Phone allowed me to call my girlfriend who lived 900 miles away without concern for call duration or cost.

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No Magic For You, Jack!

magicjackusbwidgetApparently Magic Jack has taken some steps to cease delivering service to people who access the service with clients other than bone fide Magic Jack dongles. This happened some time in the past week and has been noted in the PBX-in-a-Flash forums as well as the Unofficial Magic Jack Support Forums.

Some offer the conjecture that such treatment of customer will in some way hurt the company. I doubt that is the case. The percentage of their users using Asterisk to pass calls to them is likely extremely small. It’s also quite likely very obvious to them, both in terms of average minutes per user per month and the reported SIP client name.

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Magic Jack: Secrets Of Success?

magicjackusbwidgetSome time ago in a informal VUC post-call session Karl Fife brought up Magic Jack as a topic of discussion. He felt at the time that they were very possibly doomed to failure by their business model. I doubt that this is the case, and laid forth the logic of my belief. Well, earlier a recent thread over at BroadbandReports.com hinted at support for my theory.

It helps to start out understanding Magic Jack and their business model. Simply put, you pay $40 in the first year to establish an account and get the Magic Jack device. Thereafter you can make calls over your broadband by plugging a traditional phone into the MJ dongle, and the dongle into your PC.

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