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Apple Seeks Patent On Operating System Advertising 342

patentpundit writes "On April 18, 2008, Apple Computer applied for a patent relating to an 'invention' that allows for showing advertisements within an operating system. The first named inventor on the patent application is none other than Steve Jobs. The patent application published and became available for public inspection on October 22, 2009. If implemented, the invention would make it possible for advertisements to be displayed on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, cell phones, PDAs, and more. In one alarming aspect, the device could be disabled while the advertisements run, thereby forcing users to let the advertisement run its course before the system would unlock and allow further use. In an even more invasive scenario, explained in the patent application, the user could be required to do something, such as click to continue, in order to verify that they are actively watching the advertisement and haven't simply walked away while the ad runs. Whether Apple would implement such an invention is unknown, but it is possible that they think there are others out there who might want to implement such invasive advertising. It is possible Apple wanted to get ahead of the curve and file this patent so that if any company is silly enough to engage in Big Brother advertising, then Apple will get a royalty. I sure hope this is not the future of advertising."
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Apple Seeks Patent On Operating System Advertising

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  • Prior Art? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vandil X ( 636030 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:07PM (#29847781)
    I recall reading about "free" PCs running Windows 98 that required the user to click and view ads every 30-60 minutes of computer use.

    There were also plenty of "free" dial-up ISPs that required you to click their advertising banner every so often for the connection to stay alive.
  • Re:Logos (Score:4, Informative)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:13PM (#29847899)

    Branding isn't the same as advertising. For one, advertising involves showing ads for products that don't necessarily have anything to do with the one you're using. The tag on the back of your shirt that says who made the shirt isn't an advertisement for that brand, it's just identifying who made the shirt. The design on the front of the shirt, however, is an ad.

  • Re:Prior Art? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trahloc ( 842734 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:26PM (#29848153) Homepage
    I use to work for them. FreePC, loved the job, no one bitched about getting a free computer. But you didn't have to click on ads, you just had your screen permanently filled with them on the bottom and right side. The remaining area was left for you. They eventually got bought out by emachines and then it became a horrible place to work.
  • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:35PM (#29848309)

    and makes it nearly impossible to install the OS (or first boot) a mac without buying .mac.

    I have to experience with the former statements, but this is utter crap. I have installed 2 different releases on my Macbook, and never once did I see more than an ad for .Mac during the install. I was never prompted to create an account. It certainly never hindered my ability to book my machine.

  • Re:Logos (Score:3, Informative)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:43PM (#29848419) Homepage

    If it's self-referential, it's branding. If it refers to other products, it's advertising.
    While it is possible for branding to be just as obnoxious as advertising (e.g. a logo on the shirt bigger than the wearer's head), they are different beasts.

  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:47PM (#29848487)

    Not to mention the utter lack of any shovelware on a Mac install. No McAfee adds, Quicken shortcuts on your desktop, Printer supplies, etc, etc. There is none of that on any Mac. You get the OS, and no 3rd party crap that has to be uninstalled as soon as you unbox it.

    I just don't see Apple pushing any of this into any of it's products, but it can certainly prevent others from doing it as well.

  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:30PM (#29849233)

    I just don't see Apple pushing any of this into any of it's products, but it can certainly prevent others from doing it as well.

    It's fairly easy to see Apple putting this into one of their products []. It's also fairly obvious that that's exactly what this patent is for.

  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @05:10PM (#29851717)

    You get the OS, and no 3rd party crap that has to be uninstalled as soon as you unbox it.

    Not strictly true. There have been third-party apps, such as a version of Omnigraffle and various games that have shipped with Macs and MacOS. However, it's generally not crap, doesn't draw attention to itself through advertising or require removal, it just sits there dormant unless you decide to use it. Apple also puts trial versions of iWork on Macs, and if memory serves correctly, has also pre-installed trial versions of MS Office in the past (but I might be wrong about that one) and definitely shipped with Internet Explorer at one time.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.