updated 04:15 pm EST, Fri December 28, 2007
iBiquity Fights Sirius-XM
The FCC should not allow the proposed Sirius/XM satellite radio merger to go ahead unless it includes special exceptions to give HD Radio a boost in the market, the latter standard's creator iBiquity Digital has argued in a newly discovered complaint. The electronics firm claims that a union of the two satellite providers would harm its ability to launch HD Radio, which relies on traditional ground-based broadcasts. A merger should include a clause that forces devices using the combined network to include an HD Radio receiver at the same time, iBiquity writes in its FCC letter.
Any exclusive deals between Sirius, XM, and other companies such as stereo or vehicle manufacturers should also be voided, according to the complaint, as these discourage many if not all users from buying any equipment that supports HD Radio once they have bought a car or home audio system with satellite radio onboard. Both Sirius and XM have extensive deals that include car manufacturers such as BMW's MINI label and Volkswagen as well as home theater equipment makers such as Audiovox.
Neither Sirius nor XM has commented on the letter, which would set a controversial historical precedent by requiring that a perceived monopolist in the communications business include a specific competitor's rival technology. Sirius and XM have so far contended that their potential merger is competitive as the new body would compete against music of all kinds, including HD and analog radio as well as portable media players and similar devices.