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 that 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 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 does still require the user to have an Internet service provider).
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.
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. 
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.
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.
In January 2008, PC Magazine reviewed magicJack and rated it as Very Good. It also received their Editors' Choice award. In February 2009, PC Magazine re-reviewed magicJack 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." The company offers support only via web-based chat.
Features and limitations
Local number portability
In September of 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.
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."
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."
Originally magicJack did not provide an uninstallation method in either the software or the documentation. Since 2010, the version for the Windows platform has had an uninstaller accessible through the "Add/Remove Programs" in the Control Panel MagicJack Plus.[original research?]
In March 2009, MagicJack took legal action for defamation against Boing Boing over its assessment of MagicJack's terms of service, 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. MagicJack's suit was determined to be a strategic lawsuit against public participation and dismissed. MagicJack was also ordered to pay Boing Boing's legal expenses of $50,000 US.
On September 21 2012, magicJack Vocaltec Ltd was sued by NetTALK for damages in excess of $200,000,000 for patent infringement with the magicJack Plus device. magicJack sued netTalk in April of 2012 for patent infringement. That case was unresolved as of 2012.
- Kritsonis, Ted (March 12, 2008). "MagicJack casts fair spell". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
- Furchgott, Roy (September 1, 2011). "Skype Now Wants Your Landline". New York Times.
- "VocalTec and YMAX/magicJack Announce Merger" YMAX. 16 Jul 2010. Last accessed 13 May 2011.
- Rist, Oliver (January 17, 2008). "YMax magicJack". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
- Morejon, Mario (February 2009). "YMax magicJack (Winter 2009)". PC Magazine.
- Costa, Dan (February 2009). "The Complicated Case of magicJack". PC Magazine.
- Mandle, Nick (6 January 2010). "Magic Jack: A great deal with a few limitations". Consumer Reports. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- "MagicJack FAQ".
- "Terms of Service and Software License Agreement for magicJack, LP and YMAX Communications Corporation and VocalTec Communications Corp.". MagicJack. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- Mic, Jason (24 February 2010). "MagicJack Loses Junk Suit Against Site that Revealed it Spied on Users". DailyTech. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- 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.
- Elmore, Charles (September 21, 2012). "Competitor claims magicJack is infringing on patent".