Last week, US Electronics make a commonsense proposal on the open sourcing of satellite radio receivers. It is difficult to argue with this proposal or its benefits to consumers. Left to the merged entity, satellite radio will do what benefits satellite radio. With open sourcing, the consumer wins. Actually, it is not a bad deal for satellite radio either. It gets them out of the design of the satellite radio receivers and lets them focus on what they do best, producing great entertainment.
First, US Electronics proposes the following restrictions:
1. Sirius shall not directly or indirectly engage in the design, manufacture or distribution of satellite radio receivers.
2. Sirius shall not enter into exclusive agreements with any manufacturer, distributor, retailer, partner or auto manufacturer that limits the availability of hardware capable of receiving SDARS signal by consumers.
3. Sirius shall not participate in setting, influence or seek to influence, directly or indirectly, the retail price paid by consumers to acquire any satellite radio receiver or ancillary hardware used to support the operation of a satellite radio receiver except through mechanisms allowed pursuant to D.2., below.
All of these conditions are necessary for open sourcing to work. Next, US Electronics would require that satellite radio publish the technical requirements to use the satellite radio chipsets. Basic stuff. Manufacturers have got to know how to use the chipsets.
US Electronics also proposes to make any subsidies available on a non-discriminatory basis. Satellite radio would not be allowed to favor any manufacturer in any way. No manufacturer is at a disadvantage. Sales and marketing would also be made on a non-discriminatory basis.
Finally, although not specific on this point, they propose a means of monitoring and enforcing open sourcing. Without enforcement, the requirement has no bite. Whatever the means of enforcement, it must be better that the enforcement of the interoperable receivers, which never happened in any practical way.
We find little fault with this proposal and urge the Commission to accept it.
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