Jobs and Apple Seek Patent on Operating System Advertising

Steve Jobs, with hair. His official photo on his Apple Bio page.

Steve Jobs, with hair. His official photo from his Apple Bio page.

Earlier today a pending non-provisional utility patent application assigned to Apple Computer published.  This application, US Patent Application 20090265214, is titled Advertisement in Operating System, and covers exactly what the title implies; namely an operating system that is capable of displaying a variety of advertisements to users. You are likely to have heard of the first listed inventor, Steven Jobs, the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. While it is difficult to know the purpose and strategy behind a patent application, the attorneys at Fish & Richardson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who drafted and filed the patent application certainly did a very good job describing just about every conceivable feature and alternative that could coincide with the displaying of advertisements to users of an operating system. It almost sounds funny to call the displaying of advertisements within an operating system “a feature,” particularly given the annoying, ubiquitous and ever more intrusive nature of advertising these days. In any event, the patent application is well written, albeit it written in pre-Bilski style at least with respect to the claims. If Apple does want to pursue this all the way to a patent I suspect there will be plenty of opportunity to do so, and there will certainly be allowable claims that fall within this disclosure.

The patent application explains the basics of the invention as follows (with reference numerals removed throughout when the patent application is quoted to facilitate reading):

The operating system is configured to present one or more of the advertisements to users of the computer device. In some implementations, the operating system can disable one or more functions during the presentation of the advertisements and then enable the function(s) in response to the advertisements ending. That is, the operating system can disable some aspect of its operation to prompt the operator to pay attention to the advertisement.

Egads! Using an operating system is going to become like attending an online CLE, requiring you to pay attention enough to click to continue at the appropriate time? Even worse, in the version where the operating system disables functionality not only will you need to click to continue, but you are going to have to stop doing whatever it is that you are doing and pay attention to the advertisement! In all reality, I have a hard time believing that makers of computer devices would be able to get away with totally disabling the device and forcing active attention to the advertisement, at least not without the natives picking up pitch-forks and marching on Silicon Valley. But disabling some features, perhaps like the ability to turn the advertisement off, seem just plausible enough to make me take a deep hard breath followed by a gulping swallow.


With respect to the version of the invention where you will not be able to turn off and otherwise escape the advertisement, and will need to actively do something to verify that you are listening and watching, the patent application explains:

In an attempt to ensure that the user is actually watching and/or listening to the advertisement content, the method can include a step for verifying user presence and giving proper credit (e.g., time for using the operating system, time for using the application program, time extension credit). In some implementations, the advertisement presentation module can prompt the user to confirm that he or she is reviewing the content (e.g., paying attention to the advertisement) being presented (e.g., the user is prompted to click a certain button, click a certain object or area on the screen, press a particular key or keys). In some implementations where the computer device is a cell phone or music player, the user may be prompted to press a certain button or keypad key in order to confirm that they are paying attention. In one implementation, the approaches for verifying user presence can be made progressively more aggressive if the user has failed a previous test. For example, after the user fails the test the first time, the subsequent tests can be made to appear more frequently or at varying times. As another example, the test(s) can be made more subtle so as to render them more difficult to perceive, such as by reducing the size of a message box on the screen, or by making an audio prompt more similar to the advertisement in which it is inserted. If the user fails the test in step the method can perform step over again; that is, the entire advertisement can be played again while the operating system maintains the function(s) in a disabled state. As another example, the user’s failure can first result in any available extension(s) being consumed (compare step), and only thereafter is an advertisement played in its entirety.

Potentially even worse than not being able to turn off the advertisement is a Big Brother operating system version that will keep track of whether you turn off the advertisement and then somehow penalize you for not watching long enough. The patent application explains:

In some implementations, a user may dismiss an advertisement presentation prior to completion, for example, by clicking on the advertisement (or on an unoccupied screen area outside the advertisement if the advertisement presentation occupies only a portion of the screen), which may prompt the processor or the log to record such an action so as to debit the user accordingly for the unfinished presentation.

As I read this my head is spinning and the walls almost feel like they are closing in on me. There is no where to escape! Perhaps this is a way to extract additional payments from individuals who will pay almost anything not to have their computing sessions interrupted by such invasive commercial forces. Wait a minute, perhaps I should file a patent application on a business method for extorting sums of money from individuals who do not want to have their computers disabled and subject themselves to needing to watch advertisements. Yeah! Now we are on to something, as I wring my hands and escalatingly chuckle the evil villain laugh – a la Vincent Price!

Did you catch the fact though that this “innovation” is not limited to computer operating systems? Yes, if you are carefully reading you have noticed that the patent application makes reference to cell phones as well as computers. There simply will be no escaping this high-tech advertising assault! Of course, this is an excellent drafting technique and illustration of what really needs to be done when you write these types of patent applications. Any time you write a patent application for software or a method tied to a computer you do not want to limit yourself to a computer, but rather you want to discuss any computerized device. To this end the patent application explains:

While the presentation of advertisements is described in examples herein with respect to a personal computer, it should be apparent that the disclosed implementations can be incorporated in, or integrated with, any electronic device, e.g., a device that has a visual user interface, including without limitation, portable and desktop computers, servers, electronics, media players, game devices, mobile phones, wireless devices, email devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), embedded devices, televisions, set top boxes, etc.

I am not a fan of allowing students or junior associates to use the term “etc.” in patent applications because the term has not definable meaning in patent law. Thanks to the written description requirement what you disclose is what you are limited to, and the fact that a reader might envision other things that fit within the term “etc.” does not mean that it is included in your application. Having said that, while I don’t use “etc.” myself I use the functional equivalent in more expansive language. You never know when the Federal Circuit will change patent law, and if you want to give yourself some wiggle room to argue that stuff you never envisioned at the time of drafting is included in your application then you need something, but I digress. Returning to my astonishment… no devises are safe from Apple’s invasive advertising campaign!

But what kind of advertisements are we talking about? The patent application explains:

The advertisement may include, for example, a rectangular banner ad, an audio ad, a video clip, an image file, executable code, embedded information, or any other media, content, or interactive advertisement. For example, in the case of a text advertisement, advertisement features may include a title line (e.g., the name of a product), advertisement text (e.g., text describing the general nature of the product), and an embedded link (e.g., a URL) that links to a landing page (e.g., web site) provided by an associated advertiser. In the case of an image ad, advertisement features may include one or more images (e.g., images of a product), executable code (e.g., embedded HTML code), and an embedded link. While the advertisements are shown to reside with the advertiser’s system, the advertisements also can be stored in the advertising management system, or stored with the ad content in the computer device.

And just in case you as a user might want to watch advertisements, or re-watch advertisements, this patent application has you in mind, explaining:

The user also may manually activate an advertisement presentation. As an example, a user may select the “Watch Ads Now” menu item to instantly begin the advertisement presentation. If the user selects this menu item prior to a scheduled time of the presentation, the user may receive time extensions. The user also may select the “Watch Previous Ad” menu item to view previously watched advertisement(s). In some implementations, a user may browser a catalog of previously presented advertisements when the “Recent Ads” menu item is selected.

Who knows whether Apple has any desire to integrate such an annoying “innovation” into their operating systems.  I would have to say that my guess is that Apple would not do such a thing, but their past business mistakes do not exactly inspire confidence.  In fact, the fact that Apple has as much success as they do enjoy is largely in spite of themselves, and extraordinarily bad business decisions have plagued the company at times over the years.  Their success at times might even be attributable to such superior technology that even bad business decisions couldn’t kill the company, or maybe best described by the saying — even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.  Whatever your take is, do you really think they would alienate their users with such nonsense?  I doubt it, but I suspect they think that there is some company somewhere that might just be willing to engage in such alienation in the name of advertising revenue, and if they are going to do it shouldn’t they have to pay homage to Apple with a royalty payment?


Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of

Join the Discussion

27 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Cindi @ Chiropractic Marketing]
    Cindi @ Chiropractic Marketing
    September 16, 2011 04:10 pm

    …and somewhere at sometime we will all be able to hear the collective screams of people being held hostage by advertisement until they yell “mercy”
    This all sounds like a futuristic movie that would give me nightmares!

  • [Avatar for Brian]
    January 5, 2010 02:38 pm

    This quote sums up the entire article:

    ridiculous pontificating on Apple’s ‘past business mistakes’

    Was it a mistake for them to lose their lawsuit against MSFT when MSFT stole all the Mac OS ideas, down to the very keystrokes used? Probably. MSFT basically stole their IP, then sold generic copies all over the world for next to nothing (when bundled with sub-standard hardware).

  • [Avatar for Jayne]
    October 27, 2009 09:24 am

    Awesome thanks for posting.

  • [Avatar for moebius8]
    October 26, 2009 05:40 pm

    what i found interesting isnt so much the idea of the advertising supported hardware model since that has been tried before with the PeoplePC that was given away in the 90s with the same caveats as the patent application provided for. The interesting part is that Apple decided to build on that former companies IP and toss a patent on their older idea that had already failed once.

    i would take them up on the offer though then, toss a linux distro on it. i love free hardware, and hosing some ad delivery firm would be extra crunchy topping too 🙂

  • [Avatar for Pissed off Programmer]
    Pissed off Programmer
    October 25, 2009 04:40 pm


    I did read the other article you linked to me when it came out. I disagree with it and almost posted a comment several times, but they always degenerated into an insult. I decide to follow the classic advice, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, because I am not here to insult you, that doesn’t help anybody.

    As far as trusting open source software more than proprietary, yes I do. Proprietary software is a black box, and the only people who can fix it or change it are the people who know how it works, and the only people who know how it works are the people who made it. You are at the mercy of the creators. You put a lot of trust into other people, esp when it comes to software that may handle personal information like banking account numbers, social security numbers, and other private data, because you don’t know what it does with it, only what it spits back out on the screen. If there is a security hole in it, you have to wait for them to fix it, and if you rely on it and they decide to discontinue support, you’re screwed.

    Open source software on the other hand is a clear box, and even though you many not understand everything going on in the inside, somebody does. If it is important to enough people and there is something wrong with it, it will get fixed. This is due to Linus’s law and the gift culture of open source. Even without the gift culture, you could always pay somebody to fix it, and many businesses make their money doing just that. It doesn’t make sense for all software to be open source, and most open source software suffers from usability problems, but in terms of performance, reliability, and security, all of which contribute to trust, the jury is in, open source is the only way to go.

    I recommend The cathedral and the bazaar by Eric Raymond if you haven’t already read it, but I suspect you have.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    October 24, 2009 05:32 pm


    I would agree with you certainly that big tech has a much easier time than Joe Inventor. I do think there is plenty there for claims to issue, and I can envision arguments saying that the disclosed invention is not obvious because who in their right mind would alienate consumers with such invasive advertising. The devil is always in the details, and there are so many “in another embodiment” type statements that if there is a desire to layer on so many specifics just to get a claim I am sure at least some claims will issue. That together with this sort of thing being easier for big tech and I suspect you will see broader claims than most would imagine. Perhaps I am wrong. It will be interesting to see, that is for sure.

    I think that would make an excellent study, and perhaps Dennis should put his law students on that!


  • [Avatar for Mike E.]
    Mike E.
    October 24, 2009 03:13 pm

    Gene –

    My thoughts: Unless there’s some detail buried in the spec, I don’t see anything that makes the advertising methods particularly unique. As the description points out, these methods can be implemented on any general computing device, which would seem to capture prior art methods. Advertising has been taking place on computing devices for a long time now, and there wasn’t anything presented in the claims as written that didnt seem intuitively obvious. I haven’t carefully read the spec though, but it seems all geared to the advertising, and little on technology.

    But I wonder, it seems these big corporations seem to have an easier time with questionable patents in the USPTO than some Joe Inventor. Examiners seems more able to accept things on face value and they seem to put up less of a fight for those applicants. PatentlyO aka Dennis Crouch should conduct a study.

  • [Avatar for Jeremy Carr]
    Jeremy Carr
    October 24, 2009 01:51 am

    Has anyone considered the Canadian draft legislation that gives corporations the legal right to covertly install software on every computer connected to a Canadian ISP? This is for people who pirate media and won’t buy from iTunes!

  • [Avatar for George Bear]
    George Bear
    October 24, 2009 12:15 am

    Has it ever occurred to any one that by detecting whether an ad has been given attention that user, advertiser and publisher can all benefit. Ads will carry a higher value – users can gain access to higher value content at no cost – and correctly applied, fewer ads need be delivered. And you can always give the user the option of watching or paying. Devious! – hardly. It is called consensual advertising. Coming very soon to a screen near you.

  • [Avatar for wireless]
    October 23, 2009 09:04 pm

    omg i’ve never seen such a short independent claim, especially one classified in business method–merely 14 words in the claim body of the sister application with the same title, albeit non-published.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    October 23, 2009 05:01 pm

    Mike E.-

    Are you referring specifically to the claims? I would agree that the claims are written are likely going to have substantial problems, although I am generalizing not having done a patent search of any kind. My optimism stems from the scope of the disclosure, and envisioning what could be added into the claims to achieve patentability. With all that is there I find it hard to imagine that a novel and non-obvious claim cannot be obtained. The question, as always, will be whether the layering on of specifics that are required will make the claim set so specific as to be hardly useful from a licensing/revenue perspective.

    The particularly machine is not so clearly referenced (if at all) in the claims, but the disclosure does have plenty of support, talking specifically about a desktop computer and cell phones specifically. That is why I said in the opening that the claims seem to be written in pre-Bilski style.

    When I evaluate patents I focus on the disclosure and what can be likely achieved, and I am far less concerned with the claim set filed, which for strategic reasons may be less than ideally allowable.

    What are your thoughts?


  • [Avatar for no]
    October 23, 2009 03:11 pm

    “Apple has a 70% market share of mp3 players. It has a global smartphone share in the teens with explosive growth and enormous margins. So, what, exactly, are you talking about mistakes?”

    I notice the “good” things you point out aren’t related to MACs, but related to things that Apple makes that aren’t PC’s.

  • [Avatar for Mike E.]
    Mike E.
    October 23, 2009 03:04 pm

    In my opinion, the unpatent Office will probably say the invention is obvious. There is little in the claims that would distinguish the method from the ads taking place on websites, and for the stuff that seems particular to running the ads by an OS, seem extremely obvious because they use known techniques of computer programing. The only thing that seems novel is the idea of doing the advertising by an OS. This might have been patentable back in the late 90’s before the patent office transformed into the unpatent office. This must my opinion.

    Gene, I’m surprised how optimistic you are given your knowledge of the trend of the PTO not to allow patentable inventions.

    Also, I’m curious to know where the particular machine is, and if not, where the transformation of a particular article is.

  • [Avatar for Chris]
    October 23, 2009 02:58 pm

    You say:
    “You say: That the reason Apple doesn’t have more market share is “much more complex than simply refusing to license the OS. ”

    Actually, no, it is not any more complex or complicated.”

    Oh, well, glad we got that figured out. You solved it! With your usual evidence…nothing. And nothing whatsoever to say about the real reasons I laid out regarding the historical facts.

    If only Apple would license its operating system – the key differentiator of its products – then they would have all the market share in the world and…what…? Let me clue you in: Apple makes money off of hardware. It uses superior software to make money off of hardware. Licensing the OS would be suicidal.

    When MS convinced IBM to let it license it’s OS, it scored a coup against some clueless execs that changed the world. There is no clear evidence showing that had Apple done the same it would have ‘triumphed’ somehow. Of course, you don’t care much for evidence apparently. But to suggest they made a mistake not licensing OSX is just. plain. stupid. They are a HARDWARE company. They make money off of HARDWARE. The reason the hardware works better is because of their software; if everyone had the software, a) it would not be integrated with the hardware, so it would suck like Windows; and b) Apple would just be selling another Intel box with no differential besides nice design. Software licenses (especially in a world where MS has a grip on corporate IT departments) would hardly make up for this loss.

    Apple has 91% market share of computers that cost more than $1,000, i.e. the ones with profit margins. Its profit just grew 47% while the rest of the industry languished. MS shot up today because their profit dipped less than expected! But I guess if Apple listened to you, Gene, with your keen analysis, they’d figure out how to get ahead.

  • [Avatar for Robert Yawn]
    Robert Yawn
    October 23, 2009 02:28 pm

    Seems this is a way to attack Google. What is Google’s primary revenue source? (advertisement)

    This seems like it could be a direct attack on Google Chrome OS, if it could be used in an advertisement-supported model.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    October 23, 2009 01:12 pm


    You say: That the reason Apple doesn’t have more market share is “much more complex than simply refusing to license the OS. ”

    Actually, no, it is not any more complex or complicated.

    You say: “the company now known as Apple (rather than the old Apple Computer) was largely re-born in 1997 with the return of Jobs.”

    Yes, it was largely reborn, but the same old mistakes were once again made over again with respect to retail price maintenance of the “i” computer line, and continued refusal to license others.

    You say: “You obviously don’t know the first thing about Apple’s business if you are crowing about desktop marketshare, a dwindling commodity market (tho still important to Apple’s bottom line).”

    Come on, you can do better than that, can’t you? You say their paltry market share with respect to computers is irrelevant and then acknowledge it is still important to their bottom line? Can’t we try and stay internally consistent?

    You say: “Apple has a 70% market share of mp3 players. It has a global smartphone share in the teens with explosive growth and enormous margins.”

    Very true, and this is the only reason they have any relevance today. This doesn’t change the reality that the Apple OS of the 1980s remains better than any Microsoft OS, yet Microsoft continues to dominate, including dominance over the last “TWELVE YEARS.”

    You say: “I know I’m coming off as an a-hole here…”

    I agree.

    You say: “there is so much terrible reporting and analysis on Apple by people like you who think the fate of the company was sealed by the decision not to license their OS 20 years ago.”

    Please point to one thing I said that is incorrect to back up your claim of “terrible reporting” by me. You are nit-picking one factually correct thing from the last paragraph of this article, ignoring the entire rest of the article and arguing about things that are well document and true. Apple chose not to license their OS 30 years ago, continued on that path 20 years ago, continued on that path 10 years ago and continue on that path today. Seems like an enormously BIG mistake that Apple hasn’t made once, but has made and continues to make repeatedly.

    You say: “I imagine it won’t be too long before Apple surpasses Microsoft in market cap.”

    That may be true. Nevertheless, you say it like there is some race on with Microsoft. Why would Apple be content with larger market cap than Microsoft? With proper business decisions at any point in time they would have been able to relegate Microsoft to a footnote, yet they have repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, allowing superior technology to languish.

    You say: “You are just furthering my point that you have no idea what you are talking about here and should stick to commenting on things you know.”

    Not true. Just because you want to ignore historical fact doesn’t me I am wrong. To the contrary, everything I have said is 100% correct and easily verifiable. It is clear that I do know what I am talking about, and you are needlessly antagonistic for absolutely no reason. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?


  • [Avatar for Chris]
    October 23, 2009 12:28 pm

    I stand by vapid, as in insipid, as in devoid of anything of interest or use. The ‘mistakes’ you refer to you now reveal to be the commonly understood, but utterly flawed, analysis of Apple’s loss of market share in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The actual reasons for that loss (and, by the way, Apple is the fourth largest computer manufacturer in the US, with almost complete control of the high-end/non-commodity market – sitting on enough cash to buy Dell outright, not something to sneeze at, market share is no the end-all of business) are much more complex than simply refusing to license the OS. (In fact, they did license the OS in the early 90s, a miserable failure by a miserable CEO long gone). The REAL reasons included an established goliath, IBM, entering the nascent PC market in the early 80s, the outright theft of IP (you should be aware of this one) by Microsoft for their poor-man’s copy of the Mac OS (some of which Apple did swipe from Xerox), and conflict within the company’s Apple II and Mac divisions; followed by a string of disasterous replacements for Steve Jobs who did little to advance the OS and let Jobs take the best engineers to NeXT t (where they developed what would become OSX). Mistakes? Absolutely. But the company now known as Apple (rather than the old Apple Computer) was largely re-born in 1997 with the return of Jobs. Please point out a major mistake that has occured in the last TWELVE YEARS so that your “point” has some kind of relevance. You obviously don’t know the first thing about Apple’s business if you are crowing about desktop marketshare, a dwindling commodity market (tho still important to Apple’s bottom line). Apple has a 70% market share of mp3 players. It has a global smartphone share in the teens with explosive growth and enormous margins. So, what, exactly, are you talking about mistakes? I know I’m coming off as an a-hole here, and I’m sorry, but there is so much terrible reporting and analysis on Apple by people like you who think the fate of the company was sealed by the decision not to license their OS 20 years ago. Their vertically-integrated platform is now kicking the pants off their competitors and I imagine it won’t be too long before Apple surpasses Microsoft in market cap. Will you still be crowing about licensing the OS then? You are just furthering my point that you have no idea what you are talking about here and should stick to commenting on things you know.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    October 23, 2009 11:49 am


    Hard to know if there is anything really behind this, but as other blogs have pointed out, when Steve Jobs name is on the patent it deserves attention. Perhaps you are right. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It certainly gives us something to contemplate and watch as this unfolds.



  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    October 23, 2009 11:48 am


    Utterly vapid? Really? Do you even know what the word means? I wonder because it seems to be an inappropriate use of the word. Certainly this article managed to provoke you, so calling it lifeless seems straight up incorrect, and unfair.

    You say: “First, the ridiculous pontificating on Apple’s ‘past business mistakes’, a charge that is completely unsupported by any examples.”

    I figured someone would step into this. Everyone in the industry knows that the reason Apple, which superior technology to Microsoft, is relegated to an embarrassingly small market share is because of its refusal to provide licenses allowing for the cloning of the Apple computer. IBM clones were widely authorized, which allowed for machines to be made on every price level. This allowed those with $300 to spend to have a computer, which would run the same software as a $3,000 machine. Software developers noticed this, and growing adoption of the Windows platform, so they increasingly wrote software for that platform. Over time as the market share became ridiculously one-sided the number of software titled available for Windows became so one-sided that Apple allowed for its own demise because when faced with a plethora of options for Windows and little software for the Apple consumers chose Windows. This was a STUPID decision on the part of Apple.

    You can keep your head in the sand if you like, and believe I do not know much, but the facts are what they are. Apple has succeeded in spite of themselves. With clearly superior technology the market share should be exactly reverse, and rather than sitting on $30 billion Apple should dominate the world, but they do not.

    I think it is YOU who should “take a few moments to breathe and think before broadcasting this trash, please.” You might also want to do research. I also recommend following President Lincoln’s advise… you would do well to remember that it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Your rant, which ignores facts and hurls insults at me indeed proves you do not know much about the market or history.

    Notwithstanding, thanks for reading!


  • [Avatar for Mark Armstrong]
    Mark Armstrong
    October 23, 2009 10:51 am

    Perhaps this is going to be used in the rumored-to-be-upcoming tablet, which may be positioned to replace magazines and newspapers (and maybe even conventional television). Most print periodicals depend on advertising for revenue, and would need a way of placing ads on their electronic publications that would be acceptable to advertisers. Perhaps Apple wants to have a way of placing magazine and newspaper ads on the tablet that only Apple can control–not the user, or the publisher, or the advertiser.

  • [Avatar for Chris]
    October 23, 2009 10:10 am

    This article is utterly vapid. First, the ridiculous pontificating on Apple’s ‘past business mistakes’, a charge that is completely unsupported by any examples. Which is not to say the company hasn’t made mistakes, in its quarter-century of existence, but what has that got to do with anything? Since Jobs’ return in the late 90’s, the company has made relatively few mistakes, evidenced by its 30 billion in cash and the second highest ROI in the market. Did you glance at the latest quarterly results? They seem to know what they are doing.

    The author of this article, not so much. The article envisions all sorts of horror stories related to this patent. But the one thing Apple is known for primarily is making user-friendly devices! The author has not spent an iota of thought on why a company known for user-friendliness would pursue an apparently invasive technology. Here’s one suggestion: advertising-subsidized hardware. Imagine having the choice of paying a premium for the latest Apple gadget, or paying virtually nothing upfront in exchange for agreeing to view advertisements. Hardly Orwellian. Some might say it levels the playing field for cash-strapped gadget lovers.

    Take a few moments to breathe and think before broadcasting this trash, please.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    October 23, 2009 09:30 am


    Excellent point. Thanks for contributing.

    The patent does seem to focus on computer operating systems, but certainly would cover exactly what you are talking about. Figure 5 specifically relates to a desktop, but this twist on a licensing revenue stream would seem to make far more sense. I also wonder whether something like this would be feasible and perhaps tolerable in a desktop computer scenario where the computer is provided to the user at a discount, or perhaps even free.


  • [Avatar for George Stanton]
    George Stanton
    October 23, 2009 09:09 am


    If I’m not mistaken, this is not geared to operating systems of desktops or laptops (though if the claims are broad enough, so be it). It seems Apple is yet again trying to control the world, i.e. use of advertisements on their cell phone products (e.g. iPhone and future items).

    If this patent goes through, a large % of current Apple iPhone Application Developers will actually have to pay Apple a licensing fee because that is currently how many of them earn income through their apps.

    For example, at the end of playing a 2 minute round of the word game app “Word Warp” on the iPhone, a full screen advertisement is shown. See for screenshots.

    The only way to exit the advertisement is for the user to perform an action, i.e. click “MENU” and then the word “SKIP.” If Apple monopolizes on such a simple feature, any such advertisement method on any mobile phone OS platform (i.e. Android uh oh) will have to pay their dues to Apple or try to circumvent the claimed invention.

    Will definitely be interesting.


  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    October 23, 2009 08:58 am


    You actually believe you can trust open source software over proprietary software? Funny.

    I can’t wait for your explanation regarding how the open source model is maturing and turning into a proprietary model. Pretty much anyone with any business sense in the industry knows that the only path to the future for open source is a proprietary path. See:


  • [Avatar for Michael Corman]
    Michael Corman
    October 23, 2009 07:25 am

    Perhaps Mr. Jobs is simply protecting us from the spectre of advertising appearing every time we turn on an electronic device, forcing us to sit, watch, and click buttons on demand while it decides whether we are attentive enough to deserve access. At least for 20 years from the filing date…

  • [Avatar for Pissed Off Programmer]
    Pissed Off Programmer
    October 23, 2009 12:41 am


    If you don’t want those pesky advertisements in your OS you could always use an open source operating system? You know they ones that run the internet and all the major stock exchanges. You know, the ones you can actually trust. From the same people who brought you the only secure browser. You know, the ones who’s desktop effects were ripped off by Windows, who’s kernel was ripped off by Apple,

  • [Avatar for Zibri]
    October 22, 2009 08:25 pm

    “I doubt it, but I suspect they think that there is some company somewhere that might just be willing to engage in such alienation in the name of advertising revenue, and if they are going to do it shouldn’t they have to pay homage to Apple with a royalty payment?”

    I totally agree with the last line.
    I doubt apple will do such a stupid thing but for example Microsoft already talked about a “pay as you go” OS..
    So I think Apple filed this patent just to put a grain of sand in microsoft or other companies plans 🙂