Back in late 2009, an Apple patent application surfaced showing that the company had explored ad-supported operating systems, with the user receiving free or discounted goods or services in exchange for viewing the advertisements. The patent application, which was filed in 2008 and shows ad integration in Mac OS X, was notable for listing Steve Jobs as the lead inventor.
As Ken Segall reveals in his new book, Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, the idea did indeed belong to Jobs, although he initially considered implementing it for the 1999 release of Mac OS 9.
Rather than charge the normal upgrade price, which in those days was $99, he was thinking of shipping a second version of Mac OS 9 that would be given away for free – but would be supported instead by advertising. The theory was that this would pull in a ton of…
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