Even if the company reports solid earnings on December 4 -- and I think it will -- I would hesitate to buy the optimism. The second Apple actually does a competitor product -- and my sources are telling me it's only a matter of time -- the stock will get hammered. It doesn't matter that Apple's service will not have an impact on Pandora. Perception will drive the stock down . . . again.
And, of course, there's constant uncertainty vis-a-vis the royalty situation and the Internet Radio Fairness Act that's making its way through Congress. As I explained in the terrible news for Pandora article, even if Tim Westergren's argument is correct -- and I think it is -- Pandora cannot win a public relations battle with a diverse cross-section of the world's biggest recording artists and their powerful music labels.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.