Street-watcher Motley Fool has likened satellite audio services to Romeo and Juliet, saying that just like the doomed Shakespearian duo, the wedding is in for a tough time getting past the parents, or in this case, the regulators. But the Fool has apparently already rented a tux, and wants the wedding to proceed. In fact, the Fool laments the fact that the star-crossed duo can’t simply elope and get the nuptials done beyond the reach of those who would force it to be called off. It notes that the pair have tried to head off regulatory objections at the pass by offering concessions before they’re asked for, such as tiers priced lower than either service on its own, and guarantees that old radios will still be useful going forward. And of course, the merger is justified because the audio landscape has changed in ten years. It doesn’t handicap the decisions coming from the FTC or FCC, but it does tell the latter, "The next hoop you put XM and Sirius through better be a wedding ring."
RBR/TVBR observation: We’re tired of hearing the argument "fill-in-the-blank didn’t even exist in 1997." But other things did – we had our very own boom box that we could carry around wherever we wanted, and many of our friends used Walkman-type tape and CD players while they were out exercising or commuting. We guess they were part of the audio landscape at the time DARS was wisely chartered with a built-in competitive component – shouldn’t the regulators have allowed a monopoly to compete with these ubiquitous audio devices? No, of course not, and the argument makes no more sense now. Anyway, the last time the Fool weighed in on this, it seemed to think the merger was going to get all necessary regulatory blessings. It seems less sure of that now. One thing is for sure: We should hear something relatively soon.