All your OS are belong to US... with Apple's new advertising patent!
See, this is the problem: with our every-day activities slowly centralised and usurped by a handful of multinational juggernauts, we are quite simply at their mercy. If Google decide to turn around one day and shut down their services we have no recompense. If Microsoft shut down their messenger service, what then? What if MSN is your only lifeline to your family or friends on the other side of the world?
We invest a lot of faith into just a few large companies: Apple, Microsoft, Google. A lot of damn faith. And it's misplaced and misguided faith. We trust these vast corporations with our life -- or what constitutes our modern-day life at least: our friends, communication and entertainment.
Why do we trust them? Because we're cheap. Because there's no better alternative to Gmail or iTunes or Windows. Money makes the world go around, ladies and gentlemen. It's the very same impulse that drives us to these free services that will eventually make them unwieldy and useless.
Now that these guys have our attention -- now that we have enough invested that it's too late to back out -- you will begin to see the monetization of their services. First it will just be text-only ads. Then banners. Then full video!
Which brings us neatly onto news of Apple's new patent (PDF). As reported by the New York Times, it seems Apple has an ingenious new system that will plaster unskippable commercials onto your Apple devices at an operating-system level. Enjoying the latest episode of Fringe? WHAM! Advert! Just reaching the zenith of Muse's new album? BLAM! Some banal jingle for hemorrhoid cream.
Ominously titled 'Advertisement in Operating System', you can imagine your own nefarious uses for such an invention. Uses as wide-ranging as Flash ads in 'My Computer' to survey questions you have to stop and answer on your iPod when you go for a run.
[via New York Times]