Apple considered the idea of making Mac OS X ad-supported and even applied for a patent for the idea. The patent application was filed in 2008 and Steve Jobs was listed as the lead inventor, according to Macrumors.
According to the Ken Segall's new book, Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success, this was indeed Jobs' idea and he in fact considered implementing advertising in a free version of OS 9 back in 1999. (The OS cost $99 in those days).
According to Segall, an advertising executive who worked closely with Steve Jobs: "Steve's team had worked out the preliminary numbers the concept seemed financially sound."
Jobs' vision was for a 60-second commercial to appear during start up. This strikes us as problematic as few Mac users start up their machines on a daily bases, preferring to leave them sleeping.
The patent brings to mind the lower-priced version of the Kindle, availble only in the US, that is funded by advertising.
Read our report on Segall's book for more glimpses into the workings of Steve Jobs' mind, from his 'Willy Wonka' competition idea for the millionth Mac, and his dislike for the iPod's silhouette adverts.