Dan Borislow, the pioneer inventor of the magicJack Internet-telephone device who later made headlines as the renegade owner of a women's professional soccer team, has died. He was 52.
A spokeswoman for MagicJack Vocaltec Ltd., told The Associated Press that Borislow died of a heart attack on Monday. In a statement, MagicJack CEO Gerald Vento praised him as a visionary.
"Dan was a true telecom pioneer whose vision, creativity, energy, passion, and single-minded focus was the driving force behind the success of magicJack," said Vento. "Our continued success is dedicated to extending his vision for the great company he created."
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MagicJack, based in West Palm Beach and Netanya, Israel, became widely known through television commercials and infomercials beginning in 2008.
"Imagine eliminating your monthly phone bill forever," some of them intoned.
More than 10 million of the devices have been sold since, MagicJack VocalTec says, and they remain a ubiquitous offering in some 25,000 stores.
Vento was named president and CEO of MagicJack VocalTec in December 2012. At the time, Borislow said it was time to hand over the reins to someone else to grow the business.
Borislow was also well-known as a horse breeder and for his controversial presence in professional women's soccer. He bought the former Washington Freedom franchise and moved it to South Florida, renaming it magicJack. The team was repeatedly disciplined for not meeting league standards and ultimately was terminated. After Borislow sued the Women's Professional Soccer league, the league in released a statement accusing him of violations ranging from "unprofessional and disparaging treatment of his players to failure to pay his bills."
The league settled with Borislow but it did not last beyond a third season.
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