Business, Sci-Tech

Apple gone rotten?

By Branko Brkic 16 November 2009

For Apple lovers everywhere, this has been a sad week. Steve Jobs seems intent on moving over to the dark side, and his devotees may soon have to pay for his folly via the enforced consumption of advertising.

Could this be the most invasive, demeaning, anti-utopian and downright horrible piece of cross-platform software technology that anybody’s ever thought of? If you can come up with something more offensive, please go ahead and comment – we’d really love to hear from you. Thing is, what we’re talking about here is so potentially vile it makes Bill Gates’s operating platforms seem like the apotheosis of intuitive design. Heck, even Nat-inspired fifties architecture had a more positive impact on the human condition than what we’re likely to experience if this latest strategic move by Apple Inc. ever comes to fruition.

Yup, you heard right. We’re talking Apple. You know, Steve Jobs, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone; the Silicon Valley-based makers of the coolest technology gadgets the wired world has yet seen. So get what they’ve done: they have filed a patent application for technology that displays advertising on any device that has a screen of some kind, including laptops, PCs, phones, televisions and game players. And it’s not merely passive advertising that the US patent covers, it’s the morbidly Orwellian “enforcement routine” kind. Which means that you’ll have to give an advert your full attention, even answer a question to prove that you’ve understood and consumed it, before you’re allowed to proceed to your chosen destination.

Of course Apple has just under 35,000 employees, and Steve Jobs – Fortune magazine’s “CEO of the decade” – doesn’t ratify everything that comes out of his company, right? Right, but not entirely. Jobs, like all good chief executives, allows only the little decisions to be made without his signature; the big ones he watches closely. His name, unfortunately, is the first listed amongst the five inventors on the abovementioned patent, an ominous sign that enforcement routine cross-platform advertising on Apple products is actually going to happen.

As an aside, this piece has been written on a MacBook 2.1 with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and one gig of memory. It’s a beautiful machine, has seen me through one book and countless articles in the last three years, and has needed rebooting less than ten times. If Jobs goes through with his plans, though, he’s lost a repeat customer.

By Kevin Bloom

Read more: New York Times


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