Apple Seeks Patent for Embedded Ads in OS

According to a disclosed patent application discovered last month by The New York Times, Apple Computers is seeking rights to a technology that allows advertising to have a direct spot in a device operating system.

The reasoning behind the decision is most widely believed to be a cost-cutting motive, allowing consumers subsidized purchasing options for ordinarily more expensive technology. The fact that the patent is coming from Apple is seen by some analysts as a surprise and a contradiction of Apple's reputation for delivering higher quality, more user friendly technology at a premium price.

The patent specifically covers technology that would allow "the operating system [to be] configured to temporarily disable a function thereof and present the advertisement in the device while the function is disabled," meaning that the ad delivery system would likely sidestep measures to block the messages by being an integrated part of the OS.

The patent would broadly apply to not only personal computers but also "any electronic device," citing mobile phones, hand-held electronics and game systems as examples. The application also mentions a "credit system" through which the ads could be disabled, but yet is not clear what this would entail.

Of course, the patent application is interpreted by some as a strategic move. Just because Apple is applying for the right to use the technology does not mean that they actually will, and in particular it could be a challenge to a potential Google revenue model as the search and advertising giant moves toward completion of its Chrome OS.

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32 Comments

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Yea, macs wont be any cheaper at all. Just more scumbags trying to figure out how to screw its ignorant, arrogant, blindly faithful fans more than they already do. Kind of evangelicals. Give me money for the privilege of knowing me. What a racket. SUCKERS!!!

The real question I have is - how many goddamn ads can this industry bear? I mean, seriously - Google gets paid solely with ads, Yahoo the same, now Microsoft with Bing, etc. Then, there are services to deliver adds to phones, to e-mails, etc. Is it ever going to become oversaturated? Or is it just the beginning?

Hell, I dont care if they sell the Macs for $1 with ads, I will never buy it. If Microsoft started doing this, then I would move to Linux.

Ads have no place in an OS. If companies want to make money, maybe they should market their products better and deliver a better product. (hint hint Apple)

techbeck said,
Hell, I dont care if they sell the Macs for $1 with ads, I will never buy it. If Microsoft started doing this, then I would move to Linux.

Google got you cornered there with ChromeOS.

I'm sure there is prior-art. There was a company doing subsidised PCs over here a few years ago. You bought the PC at a heavy knock down, but agreed to watch an advert or two every few hours as a result.

Thankfully the idea got nowhere!

I know this isn't technically the same as it's not embedded into the OS per-se, but the idea if at least very similar.

(can't for the life of me remember the name of the company, but they're long gone IIRC).

I would buy a ad-mac and then hack the ads away :p

and since I live in norway i can do these things like these without braking the law;
jailbrake my iphone
mod my console/handheld console
hack my hardware to do things that "a bigger model" can do.

buut, as long as apple pantent this, who would EVER pay apple royalties just to put ads in their os? so; apple should, if nothing else goes wrong, be the only one with ads in their os:p

This will be for the rumoured tablet. This will be part of the deal for content for them. Newspapers etc will be doing this.

ZeroHour said,
This will be for the rumoured tablet. This will be part of the deal for content for them. Newspapers etc will be doing this.

Good thought. That's very possible.

I don't think is going to be for the OS per say. I can see it being for Mobile Me. A lot of system things get 'improved' functionality, and if they were going to use it, it will be for this, so when you try to do something that needs mobile me you get the advert.

Well this could work for schools, provided the ads aren't objectionable. If they're internal Apple ads or good-looking ads I wouldn't really mind them that much.

DanielZ said,
If they're internal Apple ads or good-looking ads I wouldn't really mind them that much.

Yet if Microsoft did this, you would be all over their case.

Hey its not that bad of an idea! Give it a few days after a version with ad's is released. People will have figured out a way to remove the ads.

They can keep that patent, bet that would be annoying as hell. I wonder how exactly they plan to display the ads, perhaps as a screensaver...

Billus said,
They can keep that patent, bet that would be annoying as hell. I wonder how exactly they plan to display the ads, perhaps as a screensaver...

Yeah, who knows. Maybe on your desktop? Drop the menu at the top and place the add above that? I can't think of a GOOD place for it... This is going to be really horrific if they do this...

Brill said,
+1... I would never buy a computer that had ads on it. Forget that crap!

Me neither. This is scary in sooooo many ways...

Cheap Macs with ads would be absolute win. I'd totally consider buying one if they were a lot cheaper. We all know that they won't be though so... yawn.

hotdog963al said,
Cheap Macs with ads would be absolute win. I'd totally consider buying one if they were a lot cheaper. We all know that they won't be though so... yawn.

You can always at least theoretically make up for the extra money you spend, but never the time. Wasting your life watching ads is not a good idea. Just buy a normal computer, better a PC!