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Well I hate to add rampant speculation to mgriehle's appeal to fundamental analysis...but, here comes speculation.I see two major issues regarding the birds and the wires, as SugarMags alludes to: a) mobile access, and b) programming content control. To me it boils down the former, but first let me briefly address the latter.Content control is going to be an extremely interesting process of evolution. There are battles in progress between old media and new media, and publishers are rightly concerned -- the first major battle, that between the push and pull paradigms for content has already won. It is a foregone conclusion that the future will be comprised of pulling consumers, rather than captive broadcast targets. The second major battle is shaping up as we speak -- the various issues surrounding copyright, fair use, and free speech. That's a quagmire of debate, and although extremely interesting, does not address my primary point of why I think the mobile access issue is the more important one.Content control requires the ability to limit the channels of access to your information; preferably, it also includes the ability to limit access to competing sources of information. So, send up a bunch of satellites, use exclusive mobile access as bait, and voila, you have your content control, right? Wrong.The reasons why this will not be the case is identical to the reasons why *satellite* based mobile access is also not a guranteed bonanza.Let's back up for a moment and look at other mobile access options. Cellular modem access is the most common. This is not as fast as might be desired, but works fairly reliably and will probably get better with time. Another oft overlooked option is wireless, non cellular access. This currently exists -- buy a couple of wireless cards for any pc and you are networked. This might not seem significant -- after all, it's just LAN access right now. But that will no doubt change as it becomes more popular -- the big blocker is the FCC and similar animals in other countries. The satellite bandits had better hope that the FCC does not further relax frequency range restrictions on these sort of wireless cards, because as soon as they do the first thing you will see is wireless repeaters. Boom. Wireles WAN...even driving along in your car, assuming that the local municipality has caught up with the times and installed wireless net access.(BTW, the cellular folks will no doubt be right on top of that...if not, they will soon be faced with internet phone traffic just like the current phone companies are...better to be a provider of the medium)Anyway, what all this boils down to is this. The "content providers", in the sense of the media conglomerates, will already be providing their content on the traditional internet access points. The only difference with the satellites will be the mobile access issue. If mobile access becomes a commodity via celluar and wireless, then the satellites might remain preferable, but not essential. The only way to ensure dedicated access to your satellites is to control the client devices themselves.Who is going to buy a client device that does not have standard access to the internet?Eventually, nobody. Why should you? Go with the wireless WAN option, and you can not only get to the content that the same providers are *already* providing to the internet, but also to the rest of the internet.To cripple the access ability of these devices is the kiss of death. Therefore, in order for the devices to retain any sort of relevance, they must retain access to the rest of the internet. At that point, the satellites have become nothing more than hubs. And if a hub goes away, the internet routes around it.Summary: kiss *exclusive* content control goodbye, no matter what. Mobile access is the issue that has the potential, and if you enter into that market that you had better make your client device the best on the market.Mojotoad
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