I received a very timely email from my friend David Siegel pointing me (and a very small group of recipients) to Google’s Patent search database. On October 22, 2009, Steven Jobs (et al) received patent US2009/0265214A1, Advertisement in Operating System which was originally filed of April 2008.
The abstract of the patent reads:
Among other disclosures, an operating system presents one or more advertisements to a user and disables one or more functions while the advertisements is being presented. At the end of the advertisement, the operating system again enables the function(s). The advertisement can be visual or audible. The presentation of the advertisement(s) can be made part of an approach where the user obtains a good or service, such as the operating system, for free or reduced cost.
A few things to point out:
- To re-state the obvious: Apple is exploring ways to provide their OS or other services/products for free or a reduced cost
- Apple is looking at both audio and visual (can probably expect video to be in here) types of ads
- The user is forced to watch an ad per the below statement “disables one or more functions while advertisement is being presented”
- The screenshots in the patent filing show an OSX desktop, not an iPhone screen.
Where can Apple roll this out?
- I initially gravitated towards thinking that my next MacBook or iMac will be probably be ad-supported but now I’m thinking that it might be my next iPhone or even the increasingly popular (still not present) Apple tablet. With increasing pressure from Google moving into the mobile space and recent acquisitions in which both parties (Apple & Google) were at the table (i.e. Admob), advertisements could help drive down the price (or subsidize) the service of a cellphone or Tablet.
- The opportunity for Apple to become a media distribution hub could be tremendous. Think about how many Hollywood films or video game trailers they could distribute through their desktop advertising network.
Using advertisements to subsidize a service or make it completely free is not new. This patent however is potentially important to the industry as Apple looks to future ways to monetize it’s platforms with increasing pressure from competition that has no or very low-cost.
Dell and other PC makers sell advertisements/distribution to companies to place their applications on the desktop of a new computer. Ever wonder why those icons are there when you open up your brand new machine? Business development deals place them there and pay-for-distribution.
AllAdvantage was a tool that users downloaded from the Internet during late ’99 in which compensated users for browsing the web. They made popular their tagline, “Get Paid to Surf the Web.”
Will Apple make famous, “Get Paid to Use the Computer”?