Sirius XM Shakes Off Apple Threat to Hit New High

Sirius XM Shakes Off Apple Threat to Hit New High

Sirius XM Radio barreled through its old five-year high of $3.85 today.

It may seem like an odd week for the satellite radio giant to hit its highest levels since the springtime of 2008. CC Media's Clear Channel improved the talk content features for its iHeartRadio Talk app on Monday. Apple announced yesterday that iTunes Radio would roll out with next Tuesay's iOS 7 update.

The mobile audio market is growing, and more easily accessible alternatives could mean more competition for the attention of potential Sirius XM subscribers. Then again, Sirius XM investors may argue that there's no reason to fear the threat of either company. iHeartRadio's been around for years, and Sirius XM has still grown to top 25-million subscribers this year.

Apple's product is a lot closer to what Pandora is doing. Apple even singled out Pandora during yesterday's media event. Once again, Sirius XM investors can point to spectacular growth during the rise of Pandora. Why should that end just because Apple will make it easier for iPhone owners to stream free music?

However, Sirius XM has seen encouraging auto sales, and that's ultimately more important than a lot of the distractions happening on the streaming end of the market. Sure, connected cars are blurring the line between receiver and smartphone in delivering content via dashboard controls and car speakers, but we can all agree that more cars with satellite receivers on the road is good for Sirius XM.

Sirius XM also made waves today by beefing up its board of directors. Tacking on an ESPN executive is smart given Sirius XM's emphasis on premium sports as a difference maker. Good luck getting that Braves game or the Jets on iTunes Radio or Pandora!

However, the more intriguing appointment is Microsoft's Anthony Bates. He was CEO of Skype when Microsoft acquired it two years ago, and he's now the head of Microsoft's Business Development and Evangelism group. This is interesting because Microsoft has been pushing Xbox Music as a platform for a year now. On Sunday, it revealed that it will be available on Android and iOS devices. Will this be a conflict of interest, or is this that kind of boardroom relationship that will find the two companies working closer together in the realm of premium radio?

For now, investors have answered in a way that suggests that Sirius XM will thrive in tomorrow's climate. New highs are always sweet music for longs.

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