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Advertising OS X Patents Apple

Forced iAds Coming To OS X? 416

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the my-worst-nightmare dept.
mario_grgic writes "Apple insider brings a story about expansion and renewal of a current 'Advertisement in Operating System' patent that Apple's Steve Jobs and other contributors have. The patent describes in detail (with OS X screen shots) how the forced ads would work (they would disable some OS functionality until the ad is viewed), but apparently it also applies to any device with a UI, including phones, TVs, set top boxes, etc. With Apple's recent entry into the mobile ad business, and its ambition to own half of all the mobile ads served during the second half of this year, it certainly makes one wonder if Apple would dare and put something like this in its desktop OS. I wonder if this would push more people to open source alternatives?"
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Forced iAds Coming To OS X?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 22, 2010 @10:48AM (#32990026) Journal

    With recent Apple entry into mobile ad business, and ambition to own half of all the mobile ads served in second half of this year, it certainly makes one wonder if Apple would dare and put something like this in its desktop OS. I wonder if this would push more people to open source alternatives?

    I see what you did there. You made an unlikely assumption about how this patent would be used and then you turned it into an advertisement for open source. Well done. I hate Apple and Steve Jobs (smug bastard) vehemently but even I recognized that to be a highly contrived scenario and illogical statement.

    But when I read the article, it seemed to make other assumptions about how this patent would be used. Assumptions that frankly make a whole hell of a lot more sense than asking users who have already paid a premium for an Apple desktop to watch iAds to further increase your profits. From the article:

    Such a system could be used on computers placed in public places, allowing free access to the Internet on a terminal without paying a fee. Users could also choose to pay the fee and avoid the advertisements if they wish.

    Huh. Imagine that. You know, when I walk through an airport I see people sitting around watching LCDs. And in between these CNN content sections are advertisements. That everyone seems to tolerate. I would wager that if you put in terminals with ads for internet access at airports, there would be an unending line to use them. Given that I only got free internet at an airport when Google felt generous last holiday season, I'd gladly use it and gladly watch ads.

    Furthermore I pay $75+ per month for a smartphone with a data plan. This is the cheapest option and it includes a 20% off employer discount. If you could cut this in half with this sort of ad crap in the OS, you just might convince me to hop off of my Android operating system and on to crApple ... even a different carrier.

    Like you, I am adverse to ad watching when I have already paid for something under the assumption I will be given unmitigated access to it. Like anyone else who has watched TV over the airwaves, I am interested in how you can reduce my financial liabilities via nominal time goblin advertisements and, while I'm certainly no economist, I believe that advertisements are very healthy for the economy. The market adjusts if they become too invasive or unhealthy (people revolt against the products using such tactics) but it results in more cash in my pocket to make more purchases with and entices me to make more purchases. Google's basically been minting money with them and has maintained a (for the most part) positive relationship with its consumers--despite those "consumers" being the very product they sell to other companies!

    While I'm not a big fan of Design Patents (which I think this is), I think Apple could pull this off and generate some interest in yet further proliferation of ads. We all complain when we pay for something like a video game only to get DLC ads but I think if you popped a free ad laden iDevice into someone's hands they'd quit complaining fairly quickly.

  • An Apple exclusive? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @10:56AM (#32990150)
    Wait a minute - if Apple has the patent on in-OS advertizing, does this mean that Microsoft will be unable to follow suit because Steve Jobs has ensured no one else but him gets to do it?
  • Target audience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@nOSPaM.hotmail.com> on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:00AM (#32990214)

    OSX & iOS users are not it. Frankly, pushed ads on those platforms would be suicidal - remember that Opera STILL has the millstone of ads around it's neck years after they went away. (Aside: I prefer Opera to every other browser - I still think it's faster then Chrome to boot). I think there is no way it would happen on their core cash cow machines.

    That being said, as another poster put it above, TV & Video is where the next market is, and that's where these will come into play. That's why there's the fights over Flash & H264. I would put some good money on Apple building a 'custom' TV package for everyone. It would run under the iTunes banner and would basically be you pony up X dollars a month and get unlimited streaming video and audio. Meanwhile there will be ads before movies and TV shows begin, which have been targetted to you based on your show and movie preferences. Welcome to the world of "iTV: TV for me".

  • by Issarlk (1429361) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:03AM (#32990274)
    ...implying you'll still have root privileges on ad-OSes.
  • FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drumcat (1659893) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:04AM (#32990286)
    I've been seeing this garbage since Windows 95 SP2 was going to push ads to Active Desktop. Recycled news sucks.
  • by openfrog (897716) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:06AM (#32990330)

    I see what you did there. You made an unlikely assumption about how this patent would be used and then you turned it into an advertisement for open source. Well done. I hate Apple and Steve Jobs (smug bastard) vehemently but even I recognized that to be a highly contrived scenario and illogical statement.

    But when I read the article, it seemed to make other assumptions about how this patent would be used. Assumptions that frankly make a whole hell of a lot more sense than asking users who have already paid a premium for an Apple desktop to watch iAds to further increase your profits. From the article:

    Such a system could be used on computers placed in public places, allowing free access to the Internet on a terminal without paying a fee. Users could also choose to pay the fee and avoid the advertisements if they wish.

    Furthermore I pay $75+ per month for a smartphone with a data plan. This is the cheapest option and it includes a 20% off employer discount. If you could cut this in half with this sort of ad crap in the OS, you just might convince me to hop off of my Android operating system and on to crApple ... even a different carrier. .

    Interesting. You accuse the parent of speculating on the likely use of this patent, but you end up building up a scenario that is very close to this very speculation... and you say you would want it.

    I would never tolerate advertising messing with my OS, under any pretext and notwithstanding any promise. If this is allowed to go on, there will be no end to it, and it will not cost you a cent less in the end.

    Thank you, but No.

  • by rinoid (451982) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:10AM (#32990396)

    Facts:

    1. Apple's computer unit sales have increased more than any other PC manufacturer in the past few years.
    2. Apple's margins on their computers is the highest in the industry
    3. Apple's profit on computer sales is very high
    4. Apple's profit on phone sales is higher than many other vendors COMBINED
    5. Apple's been in the smart phone business 3 years and has managed to sweep a segment into majority play
    6. Apple's iPad, out for almost one quarter, is seen to be eating into low end, very low margin products from other vendors (cough::netbooks::/cough)

    I don't believe there is all that much trouble on Apple's product pricing. True there will always be pressure to reduce prices, thereby reducing margins. However, Apple have decided to sale above that fray and have proven thus far successful.

    What if this is a way to give away Mac OS X for use on DIY hardware?

  • Short answer: no (Score:3, Interesting)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:11AM (#32990410) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if this would push more people to open source alternatives

    Ads will not on their own push people to alternatives. You need two things before Joe User will switch:

    • They need to know there are alternatives
    • They need to be able to run their applications on them, in exactly the same way they already run those applications

    Until then it doesn't matter. If OS X delivered electric shocks to its users at random intervals, they still wouldn't switch to something else if they didn't know there was a something else, or if they couldn't run their applications on that something else in exactly the same way they run it on OS X (and ditto for Windows).

    In other words, in case you didn't get the memo, emulation options are not good enough for most users. As an example, most users would try Wine once (at most) and then never want to use it again because it isn't exactly the same as what they are used to.

  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @11:24AM (#32990602)
    Why should anyone but me decide when I relax and when I should be able to work?

    Because you're supposed to think different. [So long as it's how Apple tells you to think.] Before the fanboys go up in flames, I'll point out a disclaimer: this is typed on a (second-hand hand-me-down) MacBook...

    Apple is (I hope) simply taking out the patent to stake out the ground before Microsoft does the same. The line (from TFA) that says:" ...delaying an ad by 10 minutes, or choosing to watch one immediately. This would help to ensure that the ad is not overly intrusive" would not go down well with any reasonable person, since all ads are intrusive, and in at least one case (i.e. mine) would lead to deletion of OS X and replacement with Linux.
  • by Americano (920576) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:09PM (#32991250)

    And if you read the article further, instead of selectively quoting, you see they also talk about offering the option to "pay" for the service so you don't have to "watch the ads."

    As far as "bombarding" goes... you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Re:Prior art (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ndavis (1499237) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @12:15PM (#32991334)
    That is still better then the new Blu-ray disks that download an ad from the net when you put the disk in. I didn't give the company the right to use my internet connection to download an ad that they force me to watch when I purchased a disk from the store. If my connection was metered I would send them a bill for what I think the download cost on my end.
  • by macs4all (973270) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:22PM (#32992458)

    It's NOT an audience that by-and-large cares about open-source. They just want to get more iTunes, be able to text message, and look cool doing facebook in a coffee shop.

    Actually, I think you just described about 99% of the computer-buying public in general.

    No wonder Apple is doing so good and Linux is just about nonexistent on the the desktop, eh?

    By the way, you DO realize that this means that there will be MORE free software developers flocking to OS X, because a lot of people that write free software (read almost all) still enjoy getting donations, and, if the early numbers on iAds continue, it looks like they will begin to notice a fairly steady stream of income from their iAd-supported projects.

    It's not the death of "Free" software; but rather the next chapter; where Free Software projects finally "pay" enough to be worth actually maintaining and improving, unlike a LOT of them, now, which seem to languish after an initial flurry of development, with bug report after bug report going unanswered and unresolved for YEARS, because the developer loses interest in supporting (for free!) a bunch of whiney freeloaders.

    iAds changes all that for the DEVELOPERS of free software.

    Think about it.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @01:33PM (#32992650) Homepage

    > Just like we don't have to pay to watch cable thanks to ads?

    What? Are you posting from 1998?

    Commercials on cable haven't been a problem for a LONG time if you are a trendy elite type electronics consumer (like Apple customers).

    It's all about control and who has it.

    If you don't have it, then you are at someone else's mercy.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @02:16PM (#32993420) Journal

    You're right if it is a "single" third party. However if they system broke down enough that we had parties representing the SF Liberal, Southern Blue Dog, Tea Party, Neocons, and more, completely shattering the duopoly, it could and would work.

    We just need to get sick enough of the current batch to do it. It would create some fairly strange bedfellows in the end, but that would break the (R) good/bad (D) bad/good paradigm with only rapes the electorate of a real voice.

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