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Steve Jobs' Idea For an Ad-Supported OS 255

milbournosphere writes "It looks like Steve drew up an idea for an ad-supported OS. A patent was filed back in 2009 detailing how it was done. From the article: 'Rather than charge the normal upgrade price, which in those days was $99, he was thinking of shipping a second version of Mac OS 9 that would be given away for free — but would be supported instead by advertising. The theory was that this would pull in a ton of people who didn't normally upgrade because of the price, but Apple would still generate income through the advertising. And any time an owner of the free version wanted to get rid of the advertising, he or she could simply pay for the ad-free version. Steve's team had worked out the preliminary numbers the concept seemed financially sound.'"
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Steve Jobs' Idea For an Ad-Supported OS

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  • Mac OS 9? (Score:5, Informative)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:07PM (#39809885) Journal
    Forum post says Mac OS X. I don't think he'd get many takers for Mac OS 9, even if he was giving it away without ads.
  • Bad summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by broken_chaos ( 1188549 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:10PM (#39809957)

    The summary is confusing and inaccurate. The patent was filed in 2008 (not 2009), and the reference to MacOS 9 was referring to a piece in a book ("Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success" by Ken Segall, according to the linked article) that suggests that the idea for the patent originated in 1999 (not 2008 or 2009) with Steve Jobs -- back when OS9 was heading towards release, making the reference to OS9 actually make sense.

    All this gleamed from clicking the sole link in the /. post, spending 15 seconds skimming it, and having a very basic knowledge of recent OS history. Proofreading, please?

  • Advertising is wrong (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:11PM (#39809963)

    It's come to this? Advertising permeating everything we do because it in some way makes what we're doing more affordable?

    We all pay the cost of advertising. The fact that the majority of the Web is ad-supported is depressing.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:14PM (#39810025) Homepage

    There were companies in the late 90's and early 2000 that were doing this with PC's and free internet. How soon we forget. Eudora or Opera anyone?

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:19PM (#39810101) Homepage

    From TFA:

    Jobs envisioned the ad-supported version of Mac OS 9 displaying a 60-second commercial from a "premium" company at startup, with the ads occasionally being automatically swapped out for new ones over the Internet.

    Sounds like it'd be pretty darned usable, and I personally wouldn't notice much, since I reboot once every few months (usually due to moving cords or power failure)

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:20PM (#39810127) Homepage

    Back in 1999, there was [] They didn't just give away the OS - they gave you a whole computer. Applications could only use a 640 x 480 area of the screen, which was a common monitor size back then. But FreePC shipped with a bigger monitor and display card. The rest of the screen was devoted to ads.

    Like most web sites today. And phones. And tablets...

    They were just ahead of their time.

  • Re:Mac OS 9? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:51PM (#39810639)

    The news post says Mac OS 9 if you read it. The patent displayed OS X-specific stuff, but the idea was originally conceived back in the late '90s. They simply didn't patent it until much later, and by then it made sense to show it within the context of Mac OS X.

    I'm surprised this is coming around again now, since it already made the rounds in Mac circles back when the patent was filed back in 2009, but a lot of these sort of fluff stories are circulating after the new Steve Jobs book debuted today. It's not really much of a story, since Apple is known for filing patents on every little thing they think of, the vast majority of which never come to fruition. For example, devices resembling laptops and iMacs that lack a display but have a slot in the side where you can insert a tablet-like device were patented a number of years back, even before the iPad existed.

  • Re:dumb idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:53PM (#39810659)

    If you're a normal person with the odd magazine and/or newspaper lying around, it is completely normal. If you're a stuck-up slashtard, you may have difficulties with the idea.

  • Re:And not a single (Score:4, Informative)

    by hobarrera ( 2008506 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @03:45PM (#39811297) Homepage

    MS *did* do this with their office suite.
    There's an edition of Vista that doesn't let you change the background (that's a premium feature!), or run more than 5 tasks at a time. It usually comes bundles with the ad-supported version of office, which takes about 50% of your screen real-estate on the netbooks that actully had it pre-installed.

  • Re:Excuse my French. (Score:4, Informative)

    by sofar ( 317980 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @04:07PM (#39811539) Homepage

    haha! That was a rhetorical question. There are many a commit in the kernel sources with my name, but, thanks for the thorough and gratuitous explanation ;^)

Pascal is not a high-level language. -- Steven Feiner