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2HRS2GO: Drop an Iridium on someone

Help Motorola (NYSE: MOT) determine the fate of Iridium's constellation.

Two days ago a bankruptcy court hearing for Iridium was canceled for lack of buyers. Now Motorola finally is scheduling the end -- or "decommissioning" -- for Iridium's system of 66 satellites. Last night the company lost the ability to handle calls to or from non-Iridium phones in the Americas.

There's little point in rehashing Iridium's history, especially on a Friday. No one wants to read a depressing story going into the weekend.

Instead, let's find at least one useful service for Iridium. Give Iridium's backers at least some feeling that their billions weren't entirely wasted.

Motorola has concluded the only thing left to do is release the satellites from their orbit, but the company has yet to settle on a schedule. Here's how you can help:

Find a target.

I know, I know -- the satellites are supposed to burn up in the atmosphere or simply stay in orbit. But on the off-hand chance Motorola could bring them down a bit slower, with a gentle touch to bop someone on the ground, think about candidates for Those Who Deserve To Have Satellites Dropped On Their Heads.

A few ZDII suggestions:

  • Struggling Web companies
  • . Put these guys out of their misery. Aim satellites at the servers hosting their websites and data, and give us all a fresh start. You'd save investors from further heartburn and free up bandwidth.

  • Investment banks
  • . Who is really to blame for all the investor money flushed down the IPO toilet?

    The bankers are the ones who encouraged these dot-bombs to go public. If not for the investment banking community's support, Delia's (Nasdaq: DLIA) never would have thought about foisting the "structural disaster" -- those are the CEO's words -- known as iTurf (Nasdaq: TURF) upon the public. We never would have had to read "largest first-day IPO gains in history" and "theglobe.com (Nasdaq: TGLO)" in the same sentence.

  • Online traders who blame their failures on brokers.
  • A Reuters reporter got around to reading the quarterly 10-Q report filed last week by E*Trade Group (Nasdaq: EGRP), and yesterday penned a story about SEC and NASD investigations of E*Trade's marketing practices. A few folks have accused E*Trade of misleading ads that implied a Get Rich Quick scenario.

    If you really, truly, honestly believed E*Trade would automatically bring you rapid wealth, you are dimmer than a burnt-out candle.

    Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of online trading and the Wall Street democratization that it brings.

    But this is real life, not mere numbers on a monitor. There's risk in everything, and if you trade on your own, you could lose on your own. Should your trades or investments go bust, it is your fault and only your fault, barring some criminal malfeasance on the part of the company you invested in. Either way, you certainly can't blame your online brokers; they didn't force you to trade.

  • Press release hoaxsters
  • . Some Emulex (Nasdaq: EMLX) longs probably would line up for the chance to drop an Iridium on the person who wrote this morning's fake announcement.

    That malicious act sliced more than $1.7 billion off Emulex's market capitalization. The least it deserves is a return letter in the form of a metal object that cost tens of millions.

  • News organizations that regurgitate press release hoaxes
  • . No good journalist tolerates mistakes, but we're all human. I've committed typos, misspelled names and even read the wrong line of a financial statement once or twice. Those errors bother me to no end; they're not acceptable and never will be.

    But how can anyone be so careless as to run a supposed CEO resignation and SEC investigation without a bit of checking?

    At least go to the company's website and make sure the announcement is there. Yet major news outfits didn't even do that before initially reporting the Emulex fakery as fact or popular rumor.

    You ought to be especially suspicious when the news comes marked as "Internet Wire" -- a real organization, yes, but not one often used by publicly-traded companies to make major announcements.

    Those are generally reserved for Business Wire or PR Newswire. They've been victims of hoaxes as well, but at least they're something of a standard.

  • People who trade based on PR and headlines
  • . Two words: do research. Even a good day trader analyzes charts before making decisions.

  • Financial columnists who use a communications company's failure as the springboard for a rant.
  • No explanation needed.

    Make your additions in the TalkBacks below. 22GO>