Microsoft has indulged in a practice of collecting a large number of patents and then using these patents against anyone who steps on their territory.
By looking at this previous practice, the new one doesn’t come as any surprise: Microsoft has been granted a patent for placing relative ads in ebooks. Although Microsoft had already decided to place adverts in their own ebook format last year – accompanied by a Microsoft Reader program, this plan will officially and finally become reality by the end of this month.
In the ebook world, advertisement has already taken an important role on a few Kindle ebook readers and also on the Kobo readers. But much of this advertisement is displayed on the reader itself, not in the ebooks. The ads come up on the reader screen when the device switches to sleep mode or during usage, by appearing at the bottom of screen and not on the ebook pages.
With its new patent, Microsoft takes the advertising in ebooks to another level by adding relative advertising in the actual pages. In the opinion of USPTO, the advertising system is similar to internet advertising where ads come up in relation to the content of the page, or just like in emails as the ads shown reflect the interests of the user.
This sounds extremely bizarre: to place ads in the eBook pages, but we can never know what future is in store for this endeavor. Through these advertising techniques, you may have the option of buying a $6 book for $1.
The development also becomes slightly unnerving as the nature of the books can advertise dangerous adverts like a sci-fi novel may try to advert for light sabers. This can become a dangerous practice as the material in most books is diverse and placing automated ads according to the context may lead to threatening results.
The thought of placing ads inside ebooks upsets most people, but when we look at this closely, newspapers and magazines have been working in this same manner for many years. In addition, people pay monthly subscriptions as well.
It is clear that no one wants to see ads inside an ebook, but this can and will happen easily. And if some people are really against these ads appearing in the ebook on their device, they’ll have to pay Microsoft to exclude them.
Apart from their new partnership with Barnes and Noble, Microsoft has no access to any ebook reader or software as they have scrapped off their own format and own reader. Having a patent doesn’t mean anything until it is used. Their action of patenting relative ads for ebooks can only become true if a third party agrees and gives access for its application.