Who knows? Sam Brownback (R-KS) has reacted to allegations that XM and Sirius may have misrepresented the facts in testimony supporting their merger and is asking Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy for a hearing on the matter. Brownback cited possible discrepancies between Sirius exec Mel Karmazin’s testimony before Congress and information filed with the FCC.
Much of the controversy hinges on the lack of an interoperable receiver allowing consumers to easily switch from one service to the other if they so desire. Attorneys for the two companies are arguing that their only requirement was to design one, which they claim to have successfully done.
Wall Street Journal, in an editorial, said flatly that if the DOJ approved the deal then it isn’t anticompetitive, and cited unnamed sources to allege that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is looking for “more political cover” before giving the merger a go-ahead.
RBR/TVBR observation: We don’t know if Mel is deliberately lying, or just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We were deeply involved in the satellite radio issue back at its birth, but Mel had no involvement until many years later. The satellite radio companies clearly acknowledged that the rules required every receiver to be interoperable. They begged the Commission to let them get by without meeting that requirement at launch, but promised that the second-generation receivers would be interoperable — a pledge that was never met.