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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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  • by AtomicDevice ( 926814 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:03PM (#29847723)
    I really hope they get the patent because then nobody else will be able to do it.

    In other news, I use linux?
  • I dare them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhfry ( 829244 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:03PM (#29847725)

    So long as there is a Free (not $$$ free) alternative, all they will do is push users to it.

  • Troll protection (Score:1, Insightful)

    by omarch ( 1599035 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:05PM (#29847751)
    I think the majority of the stupid patents from the big companies are just to protect them from the patent trolls in the future
  • by nmb3000 ( 741169 ) <> on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:12PM (#29847865) Journal

    As somebody who avoids Apple products I hope they are granted the patent and it is vigorously enforced. If a company wants to pursue such amazingly stupid advertising techniques like these, I'd be just fine with having them confined to the Apple product line. (What I find interesting is Steve Jobs being listed as the "inventor". Does he have nothing better to do than sit around and come up with ways to screw over his customers?)

    Even better is requiring other companies (who also wish to shoot themselves in the face) to pay to license the technology. Stupid company + expensive licensing fees + lost customers = failed stupid company == the system works.

  • I claim prior art. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brennanw ( 5761 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:12PM (#29847867) Homepage Journal [] []

    Apple, if you really want to go forward with this please have your lawyers shower me with cash.

  • I for one (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:13PM (#29847883) Journal

    welcome our advertising-patenting overlords.

    Seriously. I hope Jobs all the best in this patent pursuit. If Apple succeeds, then I can avoid occurrences of this amazingly offensive idea by the simple expedient of avoiding Apple operating systems, a course of action I'm already pretty much committed to for ample reasons of Apple's corporate citizenship and customer relations.

    As far as I'm concerned, this patent will be the legal equivalent of encysting a noxious parasite for 20 years.

  • by INeededALogin ( 771371 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:16PM (#29847935) Journal
    company is silly enough to engage in Big Brother advertising

    The Big Brother metaphor has finally been dealt its final blow. Big Brother advertising is propaganda. I think a better term for this new patent would be "Jerk Advertising"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:17PM (#29847979)

    Would it prevent google from putting links and ads in their OS, because Apple holds the patent? Could this be just a "preventive" measure?

  • by geekmansworld ( 950281 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:18PM (#29847985) Homepage

    Does anyone in this thread really think that Apple, a company utterly obsessed with aesthetics, good design, and usability, would put ads in their operating system? Not likely. Remember when Apple switched to Intel chips? There were no "Intel Inside" stickers for Macs.

    I think the poster and the first commenter have it right: this is a protection measure to make sure that any company stupid enough to try and set this precedent (advertising in the OS) will have to pay through the nose to Apple. It is in fact, the quintessential poison pill.

  • um.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kev4573 ( 1663001 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:24PM (#29848107)
    Isn't this the definition of adware ?
  • Re:I dare them! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:27PM (#29848159) Journal

    I can imagine the Mac vs PC commercials reversing very quickly if they start doing things (like this) to annoy the user.

  • by k_187 ( 61692 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:30PM (#29848209) Journal
    They might not put it in their desktop OSes, but sounds to me like this is made for the iPhone and an official ADs api for it.
  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:31PM (#29848249)

    Apple, a company utterly obsessed with aesthetics, good design, and usability, would put ads in their operating system?

    And marketing. Don't forget marketing. Maybe Apple wants to show their own ads?

  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:34PM (#29848295)

    Isn't that anti-slashdot-zeitgeist though? Patenting something simply so someone else can't do it? IMO, that sounds like a "patent troll," just not in the typical usage of the phrase.

    And I have a hard time putting so much faith in Apple, which has done plenty to not deserve said faith, that they would not advertise - if nothing else, their own products. Apple is looking for money. Just like Microsoft and Google.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camperslo ( 704715 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:37PM (#29848343)

    Confine advertising to OSX, sounds good to me.

    It would be funny if the ads kicked in when OS X detected installation on non-Apple hardware.

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Experiment 626 ( 698257 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:37PM (#29848349)

    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.

    So, best case scenario, Apple is a patent troll?

  • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @01:45PM (#29848445) Homepage Journal

    Does anyone in this thread really think that Apple, a company utterly obsessed with aesthetics, good design, and usability, would put ads in their operating system?

    Yes, I think they would do it on iPods. I imagine in their talks with record labels they discussed many revenue streams. One could easily be free music downloads if you're willing to watch ads on your iPod.

    They could also offer two revenue models for iPhone app publishers: the current cash model or advertising. The OS could block use of the app until the ad is run.

    I don't imagine this coming to desktops, but it's definitely a possibility for their more specialized operating systems.

  • Re:I for one (Score:2, Insightful)

    by znu ( 31198 ) <> on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:01PM (#29848767)

    The fact that Apple got a patent supports the assumption that they plan to implement it. Unless Apple is just a patent troll, which is another possibility. Both of those assumptions are supported. I find the former more likely.

    Or plans to use the patent defensively in the periodic patent wars that large tech companies inevitably get into. Or sees the idea as having some commercial value, but not within the context of its current premium-product strategy.

    Apple has years-old patents on shape-shifting keyboards and color-changing computers. Seen either of those in Apple stores lately? The truth is, it's relatively obvious to anyone who actually understands the logic behind Apple's design decisions that ads on the OS X desktop -- unless Apple plans some sort of major change in its current (highly profitable) approach to the market -- are extremely unlikely.

    And it gets really tiring that somehow, despite having seen this dozens of times already, some people on Slashdot still apparently aren't aware of the phenomenon of technology companies patenting ideas they never use. Especially with Apple. Apple is highly secretive. Most of the user-level technologies they actually use, they ship first (unveiling to great fanfare) and then patent. Most of the stuff they patent without a working implementation already shipping, they never use.

  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@ g m a> on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:07PM (#29848881)

    It's not, but since when is the world entirely black and white?

    Just look at Michael Jackson.

  • I don't see the problem. If they're just getting the patent in order to profit off of other companies who use these ideas, what's the problem?

    Ahhh! I see...! Patent trolling, usually nasty, evil and sleazy, is quite alright if it's Apple that is doing it...!


  • Re:Prior Art? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:14PM (#29848999) Journal

    So where is this separation between OS and software on top of the OS? You could say Explorer.exe is just an application on top of the OS. How low does it need to be? Advertisment.dll? Advertisement.sys? Adverisement.Hypervisorkernel?

  • Re:Oh HELL NO! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:16PM (#29849027) software that creates unwanted advertising pop-ups is called "malware" and the authors of such are prosecuted...

    It's only called malware and prosecuted if it is deceptively marketed. If you offer a software package designed to show people ads and are upfront about that and it is what users want or it offers a benefit in addition to the ads which users feel outweighs the cost of seeing ads then it is not malware at all. For example, lots of Web apps are partly or completely subsidized by advertising and are not malware.

    ...but then someone decides to write an operating system that does that by design!?

    Maybe, but if someone does then you are free to buy it or not and so long as they are not deceptively marketing it, it is certainly not illegal. A lot of people would probably be willing to go for a free copy of Windows 7 that came with ads built in, especially in poorer areas of the world.

    No fucking way, not even if the OS is free would I put up with that shit!

    Yeah, you and a huge chunk of the consumer market is uninterested in such an offering. I know I'm not. I plan on not buying/acquiring it and letting other people do whatever they want.

  • by jayspec462 ( 609781 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:23PM (#29849119) Homepage

    I am an Apple fanboi, born and bred in the soft, comforting womb of the Reality Distortion Field. There is not a single computer or device in my house that was not Designed by Apple in California.

    If Apple were to do this on my Mac, or my iPhone, or my iWhateverTheHellElse, I would jump ship like Neo leaving the Matrix*. Apple fanbois are Apple fanbois because we prize elegance and design. Implementing this in OS X would shit on it.

    (* Just like in that ONE AND ONLY ONE movie, that had ABSOLUTELY NO sequels... See how good at distorting reality I am?)

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:25PM (#29849151)

    Right(sarcasm). So the Ad will block the whole phone from working while my boss calls and I can't answer it for the next30 seconds.

    The idea is stupid. I am actually shocked that IBM or MSFT donthave prior art.

  • Re:Logos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mortonda ( 5175 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @02:50PM (#29849543)

    Come on, you missed a perfect time for a car analogy. The Chevy cross on the back of a car is just a logo and branding. The stuff painted on these cars [] is advertising.

  • by stuboogie ( 900470 ) on Friday October 23, 2009 @08:22PM (#29853175)
    Just because someone uses one Apple product or service does not mean they use ALL Apple products and services. There are quite a few people who own an iPod or iPhone that do not own a Mac.

    If they did, Apple would have a much larger share of PC sales. But they do not, so I guess they have room for improvement in that area. Consider how many Mac vs. PC ads you see on TV and tell me Steve doesn't want more avenues to push Mac ads.

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.