Feeds

Apple seeks OS-jacking advert patent

It's an ad ad ad ad world

The essential guide to IT transformation

Apple has filed a patent application for an intrusive ad-presentation system that requires users to acknowledge adverts before getting on with their work.

The recent patent filing carries the unusually straightforward title "Advertisement in Operating System." The described system would be buried deep in a device's OS - so deep that, in the words of the filing, "the advertisement presentation can in effect 'take over the system' in relevant aspects for a limited time."

The filing specifically describes the system as "disabling" normal operation of a device while the ad is being presented. The ad - either "visual or audible" - could be presented in a window on top of all other open windows, in a background window, or even in an application window or "inserted in content from an application program."

If we're deciphering Apple's patentese correctly, this mean that you could be working in, say, Photoshop, and a new canvas could pop up containing a mouth-watering illo of some tasty treat from Frito-Lay - and you couldn't get back to work until you somehow acknowledged the ad by, for example, clicking as directed.

Or, for that matter, since an ad could be "inserted in content from an application program," you could be merrily coding along in BBEdit when a couple of lines appeared in your code suggesting that you investigate Travelocity's latest package deal - and you'd not be able to complete your job until you, as suggested in the filing, performed one of many possible actions.

These actions might result in the system "causing presentation of a page from an advertiser associated with the advertisement; recording a user rating of the advertisement; again presenting the advertisement; sharing the advertisement with another user; initiating a transaction for user purchase of a product that eliminates the presentation of advertisements on the device," among other possibilities.

As is usually the case in such filings, the range of possible devices is a long one, "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."

The appearance of servers on that list is particularly troubling, seeing as how their inclusion might imply a network-based version of ad delivery and enforced response.

If you really want to get your conspiratorial juices flowing, remember that Apple has filed a series of patents relating to location-based content. Using its OS ad system in tandem with another recent filing, Apple could interrupt your use of Poop the World as you passed your local purveyor of fine toiletries to let you know that you could pop in and save big on three-ply tissue.

Although it boggles the mind that Apple would take such a draconian approach to ad delivery, the authors of this particular patent filing are listed as "Jobs; Steven; et al." Clearly, the man has ads on the brain.

Note also that Apple is said to be taking a deeper interest in ad-serving technologies. For example, Bloomberg reported on Saturday that the ever-talkative "people familiar with the matter" told it that Apple had been in acquisition talks with AdMob, the mobile-advertising supplier that Google bought last week for $750m.

Apple is not the only operating system vendor displaying an interest in acquiring a piece of ad-revenue pie. Microsoft is also providing ad opportunities that are now available as downloadable desktop themes, but that may soon extend to Windows 7 borders and sounds, gadgets, and IE 8 add-ons that would send users to an advertiser's website. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.