Over the past year or more, people have been calling on satellite radio provider Sirius XM to release an app for the Apple iPhone that would allow people to listen to its exclusive content on the device.

A small company called NiceMac devoted themselves to building such an app. They finished it and even submitted it to the official App Store before being told that a Cease & Desist letter from Sirius XM was inevitable and that they needed to forget about it and walk away. This pissed me off. Why would a company not want to take advantage of someone else’s effort to further its business model by getting it onto new platforms?

Then we heard that Sirius was building its own app. Great. This is a company that isn’t exactly soaring: its stock is below 50 cents a share and it’s been near bankruptcy several times. So being on the iPhone could be a huge coup just at the right time, when the iPhone is becoming ubiquitous… it could save the company.

There are other audio options available on the iPhone. Users can listen to Pandora for free, an app which chooses music for them based on their preferences. They can listen to thousands of internet radio stations on the go already, all for free. They can listen to their own music and download more from iTunes.

So for Sirius XM to want to charge people to listen, they have to have something totally exclusive… something extremely popular… something that’s been proven over 30 years… a radio legend who can’t be heard anywhere else.

Across all fora where people could speak about a Sirius XM iPhone app over the past year, they’ve responded to the idea of competition from Pandora and internet radio by saying two words: HOWARD STERN. Sirius had Howard, and that made all these people want the iPhone app. They can already get music and talk… but they can’t get Howard.

The Sirius XM app was finally released today, without Howard Stern channels. In other words, the only channels I want to listen to aren’t available.

BAD, BAD move. I may just sell my stock today.

This company may just be doomed.