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magicJack and NetTALK – VoIP Providers at Each Other's Throats

Updated on January 8, 2013
Comparing the Two Retail VoIP Services
Comparing the Two Retail VoIP Services

Competition in the Retail VoIP Segment

VoIP products can be neatly divided into two categories – for businesses, and those meant for regular customers. This is because requirements are wildly different even though the underlying technology may be the same (or at least most of it). Businesses require advanced functionality, individual telephone numbers for each employee, scalability, call forwarding, voicemail, administrative management etc. They don't mind putting in a little extra effort to get the setup just right. Retail customers on the other hand prefer ease-of-use over features. They don't want any complicated setup and the fewer things that can go wrong, the better.

By far, the most well known and perhaps most popular VoIP program for retail customers is Skype. But Skype is strictly a software program. There is no hardware which means that individuals still have to sit at the computer with a microphone and headset or use smartphones if they want to talk. There is no easy way to use Skype as a replacement for the landline. For that, there are two companies in the public space that have operated for a while – magicJack and netTALK. These two enterprises offer the same promise – easy VoIP communications for cheap using a landline.

There are a few differences though and many in the industry feel that netTALK has a clear advantage over magicJack. The latter requires a computer that is on all the time to which the magicJack device connects via USB. The telephone line plugs into this and thereby obtains a connection to the Internet. Many people have their computers on all the time, but there are many who don't. For these individuals, netTALK offers a more convenient product since their gadget can plug directly into the router itself. Why you may not keep the computer on, hardly anyone ever turns off the router and this makes it a more stable connection, not to mention saving on power.

More recent products of magicJack have tried to incorporate the feature of not requiring an "always on" PC. It's clear that the gap between the competitors is closing. The courtroom however is a different story. MagicJack had sued netTALK for violation of patents a while ago with netTALK countersuing etc. Just yesterday however, the court dismissed all claims against netTALK with prejudice against magicJack. This is a net win for customers as it helps keep innovation alive instead of smothering competitors using legal means.

Contact your local San Francisco VoIP phones service provider to find out how you can get started today. VoIP on smartphones is the next wave of communications – make sure that you're prepared for it.

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