The FCC finally approved the merger of the only two satellite radio services in the country. It is kind of funny that it has taken this long, but we are starting to see the future for this new company. The funny thing is that I am betting it will only have to do with satellites in the very very short term.
The reason? This product.
This, looks like an ordinary wireless router, but it isn’t. This is a mobile wifi router from a company called WAAV. It has been announced already that mobile wifi technology will be available in some of next year’s Chrysler cars. This device grabs the mobile data signals from cellular carriers like AT&T or Sprint and broadcasts it inside your car (and about a 50-100 foot radius outside your car) so you can access the internet on the go but dont forget to check subnet-Calculator.org for your security. This means laptops, video games, and soon enough wifi radios.
This is an important point because if the internet starts being an accessible network on the road in every car, it will certainly marginalize the need for a lot of satellite technology. All that money that Sirius and XM have spent over the years will seem completely wasted as more and more people stop bothering with satellite antennae.
Then, the new merged Sirius/XM company is no longer anything more than a content company. Instead of selling a technology, they are just selling Oprah, Martha Stewart, Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern, NFL Football and Major League Baseball.
Except those last two will probably stop renewing their contracts with Sirius/XM because they won’t need a middleman to broadcast the radio descriptions of their games straight to consumers. So there is one lost selling point for Sirius/XM.
Also, the Sirius/XM music channels will have stiff competition from Slacker and Pandora that use user data to customize radio stations just for you, not to mention iPods which will easily be connected in any car on the road in the next couple of years. As it stands now, I would guess that at least 50% of cars being produced today have MP3 player functionality, at least by way of headphone jack.
It is through this filter that I find all the debate over Sirius/XM so hilarious. These two companies have done an amazing job developing a technology that will be completely unnecessary in a matter of years. As that happens, the content producers will be able to go directly to the consumers more and more, thus marginalizing the need for a company to consolidate talent into a service platform once and for all.
Does this sound like a monopoly to you? It doesn’t sound like a monopoly to me either.
Hat tip to MisterCrunchy, who actually commented on this site well over a year ago that satellite technology was going to be marginalized and obsolete.