Google, Sirius XM Hook-Up: Reeks of Desperation

TheStreet.com

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I appreciate the fundamental message: "If you fall off a horse, just get back on." However, I wonder at what point repetition becomes the definition of insanity. You know you're insane when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

On Tuesday, an article by Reuters (This link will take you to an outside source.) revealed a new content-sharing partnership between search-giant Google GOOG and the king of satellite radio Sirius XM SIRI . The deal, which will be announced today at Google's I/O developer conference, is an effort to restore Google's fledging attempt at being relevant in television -- an area where it has previously "fallen off the horse" more than once. However, I think this time this really reeks of desperation.

Google TV has never worked, and at this point, it is hard to say that it ever will. This is even though it has previously inked partnerships with streaming services with both Netflix NFLX and Amazon AMZN . However, with Sirius, Google will have a new app that will feature DVR-like controls that will allow listeners to stream content provided by Sirius, which includes live sports as well as the so-called "shock jock" in Howard Stern.

One of the things that has made Warren Buffett the world's most successful investor is that, along with his fundamental belief of "investing in what you know," he also said, "If we can't find things within our circle of competence, we don't expand the circle." In other words, don't venture too far into things that you don't understand.

As much as I want to give Google the benefit of the doubt here, it just seems that this is another example of where it tries too hard to go tit-for-tat with Apple AAPL . Google sometimes fails to realize that Apple is taking it on a wild goose chase.

While this might be a good thing for Sirius XM, as this licensing deal will certainly be another revenue stream for the company, Google, on the other hand, needs to remember that there was a reason why the broadcast networks were never too enamored with the original idea. It is remarkable how it constantly tries to be everything that Apple is considered to be. And in the process, the company always appears unsatisfied and refuses to acknowledge when it has gone too far out of its circle of competence. The result is often a distraction that translates into spending R&D money and resources where it shouldn't: Google+ is a prime example.

The company often forgets just how dominant it is, not only in search, but also online advertising, smart phones, tablets as well as cloud computing. While the company plays second fiddle to nobody, sometimes I believe Google maneuvers with the mindset of a startup by constantly seeking to expand its circle of competence -- if not to compete with Apple, but also Microsoft MSFT and now Facebook FB .

Bottom Line

Without question, Apple's upcoming TV is the reason for this desperate move. Google realizes not only will it have had a two-year lead on Apple, but it would be an embarrassment for Apple to come in and secure a market where it entered first. Furthermore, now that Apple has dumped its popular map app from upcoming iPhones, it seems Google has become a bit more sensitive and taking things more personal than it should. But it needs to be careful about letting too much of its pride get in the way of its intelligence.

Sometimes the real genius in a person is demonstrated only at the point when he or she realizes either they don't know something or they are simply just not good at it. After all, not everyone was born to be (insert your favorite idol here). For that matter, not every company is ever going to be Apple.

At the time of publication, Saintvilus was long AAPL and held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

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