by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 24th 2008 4:48pm
The 18-month saga of XM and Sirius trying to merger just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. Yesterday, we pointed to all of the silly hoops the FCC was trying to make the companies go through, that often had absolutely nothing to do with antitrust issues, and today comes the news that the FCC has fined the companies nearly $20 million for technical violations as some sort of precursor to merger approval. What do these technical violations have to do with the antitrust questions the FCC is supposed to be deciding? Absolutely nothing. Instead, it appears that the FCC is simply using its position as the decider over whether or not the merger goes through to get whatever licks in that it can against the two satellite radio companies, knowing that they'll have to obey quietly. Its like hazing. Because XM and Sirius need the approval of the FCC, it can just do anything it wants to them, such as adding bizarre requirements or even asking them to hand over $20 million.
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