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Thursday, October 19, 2006

While Apple Trump Sirius? (AAPL)(XMSR)(SIRI)

Buried in Apple's stellar earnings reports and conference call was a comment by management that 70% of all cars will have iPod adaptors. If you are the management of XM Satellite Radio or Sirius that is not good news.

The iPod has been primarily considered a portable device that the user carries. But, it has evolved into a home entertainment device as products like speakers have been added so that music can be played in a room and not just through headphones.

Subscription growth rates at the two big satellite radio providers are dropping. And, alternative ways to listen to commercial-free music in the car may be the reason.

While XM and Sirius are available on a wide variety of automobiles, there is often an initial cost for the service and a monthly subsription fee. With the iPod, once the device has been purchased, the only cost is for music the user wants, not for 130 channels, many of which remain unused by most satellite radio customers.

XM and Sirius may be up against increasing competition, but the iPod could be the one device that stops them in their tracks.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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