I don’t generally short stocks but for the longest time I told anyone that would listen that the stocks that I would short, if I did do such a thing, would be the stocks of the satellite radio players. They reminded me of AOL early on. Data wants to be free and tiny walled gardens cannot compete with 6 billion authors. My overall thesis has proven correct but I was wrong on the how, almost. Turns out Apple’s iPhone probably did more to kill Sirius than the Internet. However if there was any doubt of the ultimate demise of satellite radio’s dumb, unprofitable business model, the nail in the coffin has arrived in the form of Slacker and Pandora portable radio. Pandora is available on the iPhone. Slacker is available on the Blackberry (giving non-descript middle managers across the globe new potential for self-perceived coolness). I just loaded Slacker onto my Blackberry, and now there is simply no reason to use Sirius. You can kiss the remaining $0.35 of share price goodby.
Now slacker portable is not the portable music Internet. It’s not the 10,000 college radio stations available online (I guess I’m still going to have to build that app). It’s also not the millions of playlists available on sites like lastfm.com. But it is a great portfolio of radio stations plus any station of your own that you want to create. It’ll probably also go a good way toward finally putting a bullet in FM radio (and therefore part of CBS) as soon as the average consumer figures out how to get their phone playing through their car stereo. iPhone is going a long way in paving the way here as well.