In discussing the troubled satellite radio business
, we noted that two of the major difficulties faced by the industry were the huge capital costs required to build and maintain the business, combined with the rise of (somewhat unexpected) competition in the form of internet radio and internet downloads combined with portable MP3 players like the iPod. Over at Slate, Farhad Manjoo has a suggestion that would solve both of those issues: Sirius XM should ditch the satellites
and become a web only broadcaster. It's an interesting idea, but it seems unlikely (even though they offer online streams currently). Sirius XM still remains so car focused, it still thinks that being in automobiles is a competitive advantage. However, as Manjoo points out, it's actually damaging the company, because it's had to pay large sums to automakers to get the devices installed in cars. Instead, if it went to an internet-only solution, and cut the subscription prices, it could reach a much larger audience, much more easily and cheaply. Build mobile apps, and people can use their phones to listen to content. Add downloadable podcasts of popular shows, and anyone with a portable device can time shift. It's so reasonable that it'll never happen.