updated 01:30 pm EDT, Tue October 26, 2010
Deal dealt blow to Mac gaming industry
Apple CEO Steve Jobs made an "angry" call to Microsoft head Steve Ballmer following the latter company's buyout of Bungie, a new interview reveals. Bungie was once one of the foremost Mac developers, having created popular game franchises like Myth and Marathon. The first Halo game was originally expected to be flagship Mac title, launching for Mac and Windows systems simultaneously; Jobs himself revealed plans during a 1999 Macworld conference.
After Microsoft's acquisition of Bungie in June 2000, Halo was instead turned into one of the inaugural games for the Xbox. Windows and Mac versions would only follow well after. "As soon as we announced we bought Bungie, Steve Jobs called," according to Ed Fries, a former VP of game publishing at Microsoft and central to the Bungie deal. "He was mad at Ballmer and phoned him up and was angry because we'd just bought the premier Mac game developer and made them an Xbox developer."
Fries quickly received an e-mail from Ballmer, asking him to phone Jobs and calm him down. "Anyway, we did this deal with Apple where we'd port some PC games to the Macintosh and help Peter Tamte create this company to do it," notes Fries, "and I had to go to a Mac developer conference and get on stage and talk about this whole new partnership. It was a pretty strange time."
Fries ultimately left Microsoft in 2004. Bungie would split from Microsoft in 2007, shortly after the release of Halo 3. The developer is now in a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision, working on its first major non-Halo title in over a decade.