The Week in Tech

This week in tech kicked off with the Feds (finally) giving a boost to satellite radio.

Tuning in a merger
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was on the verge of approving the proposed merger between XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR  ) and Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) .

It's about freaking time.

There are, of course, conditions: caps on subscription fees and a licensing program to allow third parties to build receivers, for example. None of the caveats appear to spell doom. To the contrary; lower subscription fees could induce newbies to try satellite radio.

Or not. Bearish analyst Mark Wienkes this week lowered his price targets for both companies. For XM, his new bull's-eye is $6.50 per share. What's interesting here is the math, Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz writes: If you assume a deal will get done, XM's floor should be right around $8.

Perhaps an arbitrage opportunity is forthcoming?

All hail the iPod!
Who says the iPod, whose unit sales were up just 1% in the latest quarter, is dead?

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) yesterday announced that its iTunes Store has sold its 5 billionth song, just 3.5 months after crossing the 4 billion barrier. 

Wait, it gets better. Apple also says that it is selling and renting more than 50,000 movies per day. No doubt Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) is still the king of couch cinema, but aren't you impressed? Movie sales and rentals could soon be a $100 million business for Apple, according to media analyst Cynthia Brumfield.

More digital news from this week that you can use:

  • Shares of Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) hit a five-year low; Fool Dave Mock and I debated the chances of the iPhone catching on in the enterprise world. (Follow the links for the pro and con arguments.)
  • Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) teamed with Samsung to introduce the new "Instinct" smartphone, which it claims could be an iPhone killer. Don't bet on it.
  • Netflix dumped Profiles, which allows subscribers to split up an account into several queues for individual family members. The result? Less data and, very likely, less accurate recommendations. Dumb.
  • Downloads of version 3 of Firefox started slow but ended strong. More than 8 million took a chance on the new browser.

And that's it for this week in tech. See you back here next Friday, and in the meantime, Fool on!


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