Jobs ‘raged’ at Ballmer over Y2K Bungie purchase

October 26th, 2010 at 2:31 PM  3 Comments

It’s hard to imagine that one of Microsoft’s most successful franchises of the last decade almost became one of Apple’s. Back in 2000, when Bungie was working on development of the first Halo game, it was slated to be a big title on the new Apple platform. It was so big that Apple had the Bungie team demo a beta of the game on their shiny new G3 Macs.

However, Microsoft announced they’d acquired the company a few months later and it took Apple by surprise. It also enraged Apple CEO Steve Jobs. So much so that Jobs called Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to give him a piece of his mind.

From Develop-Online and their interview with former Microsoft VP Ed Fries:

“As soon as we announced we bought Bungie, Steve Jobs called,” Fries said.
“He was mad at [Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer and phoned him up and was angry because we’d just bought the premier Mac game developer and made them an Xbox developer.”
“So, during the day, I got an email from Steve Ballmer asking me to phone Steve Jobs and calm him down about the whole thing,” he said.
“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, 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.”
In the end, it worked out great for Bungie. The game Halo is now a household name, something that would have probably never happened if it had stuck with Apple instead of going to the Xbox. And really, Apple hasn’t done so bad since then either.