Wipe the cobwebs off the honeymoon suite
In a drawn-out courtship that's starting to rival the forbidden couple in Atonement, XM (Nasdaq: XMSR) and Sirius (Nasdaq: SIRI) lapped the one-year anniversary of announcing their merger, with no consummation in sight.

The deal seemed radical at first. The only two satellite radio companies hooking up? That's more Monopoly than Boardwalk and Park Place. However, the industry has changed so dramatically in recent months that the deal now seems more like Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue.

Regulators' failure to nix the deal immediately should be encouraging for merger advocates. Since then, XM and Sirius have done nothing but make concessions, including the promise of lower-priced programming tiers and cross-programming functionality.

It also can't hurt that many new cars are starting to come with jacks for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPods, while a few even sport CD-ripping hard drives. In short, XM and Sirius aren't the only audio game in town. Those changes may help grease the deal through -- even after the long courtship -- but they'll also be major obstacles for XM and Sirius to overcome once the wedding cake is sliced.

Last week's market news
And now, a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week:

  • Sharper Image (Nasdaq: SHRP) -- the retail concept that I endearingly call a suburban Skymall -- finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. If a couple of years of freefalling comps and a revolving door for CEOs weren't enough for you to see this coming, what were you waiting for? An outbreak of human-eating massage chairs?
  • So what's it like to be naked, Mr. Softy? Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced that it would share many of its trade secrets with third-party developers. The company's opening up for the sake of greater interoperability between its software and the rest of the world. Overheard in the cubicles of countless upstart developers: There's got to be a trap door somewhere.  
  • Japan's Toshiba finally conceded the high-def optical disc battle to Sony's (NYSE: SNE) Blu-ray, agreeing to discontinue its HD-DVD platform. Retailers like Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) can now breathe easy and stock just one type of DVD killer. Maybe the rise and fall of HD-DVD will one day be released on HD-DVD, but I hear that the Blu-ray version will make the most of the format's additional storage capacity -- by including a blooper reel.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield-wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. Sharper Image is a former Hidden Gems Pay Dirt recommendation. Rick does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.