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Several unnamed sources are telling the satellite radio news site that the uSirius Starplayr program is being submitted to Apple over the weekend. The third-party application will then be just a head nod away from its official release through Apple's App Store.
Is it too little, too late?
Online streaming has been a free perk to paying Sirius XM subscribers, but that is likely to change. Several reports indicate that the company plans to begin charging an additional $2.99 a month for the service -- as it upgrades the audio quality -- in March.
Having a home in Apple's storefront is huge, but will consumers pay up? There are already plenty of free programs out there, including Pandora, Slacker, Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) AOL Music, and CBS' (NYSE: CBS ) Last.fm.
Naturally, there is plenty at stake here. If Sirius XM is able to deliver its programming digitally, it will mean fewer receivers to subsidize. Streaming costs aren't cheap, but this can certainly be an incrementally profitable offering for Sirius if so many other companies are giving it away. Several years from now, maybe even costly satellites and signal repeaters won't be necessary. The downside there, of course, is that a level playing field will make things more competitive for Sirius XM.
Either way, the real crime here is that Sirius XM didn't come to market with its own App Store program first. The ability to reach every iPhone user and any iPod Touch owner with a steady Wi-Fi connection is ridiculous to ignore.
Even when big brands stumble in the App Store -- like Chipotle Mexican Grill's (NYSE: CMG ) (NYSE: CMG-B ) short-lived mobile-ordering program -- it's important to see companies roll up their sleeves to reach growing audiences.
Kudos to Starplayr if it does hit the market next month. Shame on Sirius XM for not getting there first.
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