BUSINESS

Sirius XM Teetering on the Brink of Irrelevancy

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --As Jerry told George on a classic episode of Seinfeld:
You know you really need some help. A regular psychiatrist couldn't even help you. You need to go to like Vienna or something ... You need to get involved at the University level. Like where Freud studied and have all those people looking at you and checking up on you. That's the kind of help you need. Not the once a week for eighty bucks. No. You need a team. A team of psychiatrists working round the clock thinking about you, having conferences, observing you, like the way they did with the Elephant Man. That's what I'm talking about because that's the only way you're going to get better.

Sirius XM (SIRI) permabulls have become the George Costanzas of the stock market.

As SIRI continues to get hammered (down about 16.5% over the last three months), a stubborn gaggle of people who claim to be long the stock continue to not only defend it, but present the future as some sort of alternative reality.

The latest "positive" to come from a marketing "machine" powered by hamsters running in place does little more than fuel false optimism for suffering shareholders who could very well end up owning a penny stock again if the power struggle between Sirius XM and Liberty Media (LMCA) fails to resolve.

On Wednesday, Sirius XM announced that it would make its service available on Google(GOOG) TV. This would be excellent news if it wasn't a prime example of an effectively irrelevant company putting the cart before the horse.

The second iteration of Google TV may or may not shift the device from abject failure to moderate success. It certainly will never attain Microsoft(MSFT) Xbox status any time soon. But that's neither here nor there.

Like Apple(AAPL) TV and Roku, Google TV is just another streaming set-top box. You cannot fault Sirius XM for becoming a part of it or any of the others. You can, however, take the company to task for not understanding the competitive marketplace and, in turn, coming to Goggle TV and the mobile world woefully unprepared for battle.


Sirius XM and its shareholders -- at least the ones who troll Internet message boards -- appear satisfied with the status quo. They hear their CEO Mel Karmazin open every quarterly conference call the same way. For all intents and purposes, he reads the same script, just replacing the numbers that detail updated subscriber growth, free cash flow and other quantitative metrics.

Mel can run a business as efficiently as any other radio guy with a business degree. He puts up the numbers, quarter after quarter, to prove it. As a result, SIRI permabulls assume that stock price appreciation should follow.