17 July, 2007

Satellite Radio and Apple Inc.

An interesting combination, that probably engineering teams on both sides have thought of. Could the iPod have the ability to let its users listen to Satellite Radio?

Apple (AAPL), XM (XMSR) and Sirius (SIRI) could do decently well for each other by talking about this. The satellite radio companies have each tried to develop and release their own handheld device to overall little fanfare and now with the merger news swaying back and forth almost daily, the main talking points seems to have shifted from growth in the industry to cost savings from synergies. Why not take a look to the poster child of growth and innovation and figure out a way to spark subscription sales?

How many car owners would continue their Satellite Radio subscription after the free 3 month trial if they knew they could get satellite radio streams on their iPods and through iTunes?
Apple and AT&T have just revolutionized the wireless industry consumer sign-up process, so why couldn't they try to do the same thing for satellite radio? Wouldn't it be relatively easy to work out a sign-up process through iTunes so new and existing customers of satellite radio could activate the availability of getting their radio on their next gen iPod/iPhone? The potential new subcriber additions for the Satellite radio companies is huge.

First major question is the engineering involved, could it be done right now? Is there a way for the brilliant engineers of Apple, Sirius and XM to figure out how to put the satellite radio decoding hardware into the same/next generation shapes of the iPod and the iPhone?

Second major question is monetary. Certainly Apple would demand a share of monthly subscription revenues, perhaps an upfront connection fee and total control over the engineering involved with the hybrid devices. Would Sirius or XM agree to those terms? Seems like we're talking iPhone all over again and that's seemed to work out well for AT&T so far (With the official sales word coming next week during Apple's quarterly earnings report).

I can certainly see such an announcement would benefit all the companies involved. With Satellite Radio still being an industry of fluctuating but sustainable growth it seems like spark is needed to reignite the passions of investors in shares of Sirius and XM. The merger talk and cost savings have taken their toll on both companies year-to-date and while there is no guarantee they will be allowed to merge, an idea like this could put both companies subscriber numbers back on the path of blockbuster growth.

Disclosure: Author is long AAPL & SIRI


Adam said...

just out of curiosity, what is your background? Do you invest just as a personal hobby or are you actually a registered broker for others. Either way good stuff and I look forward ot your posts. I will try to comment frequently because I think it livens up blogs like these

Chris Krasowski said...

Adam, I agree with you that discussion usually sparks great investment ideas and hence article topics. I am not a registered broker, in fact I just graduated from University. I am an Engineering graduate but have been involved in stock trading and the markets for almost 8 years now. So far it's a personal hobby but I do wish to become registered and pursue this as a career sooner rather than later. I'm personally really passionate about investing and trading so it's cool to be able to share some of that with anyone who happens to read my opinions. And it doesn't hurt to try to earn a little bit from these efforts through Google Ads if people find them interesting and relevant to what they are reading, because who knows, someday maybe this guy's opinion may officially be worth something!

Thanks again for the support