Report: Microsoft-Bungie Buyout Angered Steve Jobs

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs was allegedly in a rage about Microsoft’s purchase of Mac game developer Bungie back in 2000, according to former Microsoft executive Ed Fries. In an interview with Develop magazine, Mr. Fries said that he was tasked by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to mollify Mr. Jobs, and a deal was reached to bring Microsoft-published games to the Mac.

“As soon as we announced we bought Bungie, Steve Jobs called,” Mr. Fries told the magazine. “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.”

Mr. Fries was then the vice president of game publishing for Microsoft, and a central player in both the Bungie buyout and the purchase of another game development house called Rare.

Bungie was the premier game developer on the Mac platform, with titles such as Marathon, Myth, and Oni being developed for the Mac platform at a time when many developers either fled or ignored the Mac. Halo was to be the company’s next big franchise, and it was shown to the world for the first time running on a Mac during a Stevenote at Macworld New York 1999.

In July of 2000, Microsoft announced that it had bought Bungie, and that Halo — which had been scheduled for release on both Mac and Windows — would become a premier Xbox title. That was, according to Mr. Fries, when Mr. Jobs started phoning Redmond.

“So, during the day, I got an e-mail from Steve Ballmer asking me to phone Steve Jobs and calm him down about the whole thing,” Mr. Fries 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.”

This is all clearly water under the bridge, of course, but many Mac Bungie fans will likely be interested in knowing that the Microsoft move that many saw as a big blow to Mac gaming was important to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.


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Can you explain why is this news 10 years later? I’ve seen the story on several news outlets and am wondering what the correlation is to anything today.

Just curious.


I still refuse to play any of the Halo games. Nope… instead I opt to occasionally break out the Marathon trilogy.

John Molloy

And so he should have been. Micosoft bought the main Apple game developer… One that promised Halo for the Mac.

The irony being was that Microsoft’s attempt to undermine Apple by taking their main game developer and designing the xbox360 around a chip that was “useless” for gaming in a pitiful attempt to cut off Apple’s oxygen in terms of chip supply, forced Apple to jump to Intel.


Marathon got me through my residency by serving as a big stress reliever. I still harbor the hope that Bungie will produce an official update to the trilogy with graphics that rival that of Halo.


I also can’t understand why Bryan created this theme. Information is very old and the only one answer comes to my mind: Bungie prepare for making of a new game and author made a short excursus into the story to help us with understanding of situation.
But I haven’t seen any news about new projects of Bungie, so I propose the author to tell us more if my hypothesis is right or explain his actions if I’m wrong.

Bryan Chaffin

MacKeeper_fan_Mod, the information in this story is actually new…at least to everyone outside of Apple’s inner circle and the folks at Microsoft Steve yelled at. The interview Mr. Fries gave Develop magazine hasn’t even been published yet (they put out this teaser story today).

As you may have gathered from the comments, there is still a lot of passion in the Mac gaming world for Bungie before Microsoft bought the company.

As for Bungie today, the company is no longer a part of Microsoft, having extricated itself from the clutches of Big Redmond in 2007. I don’t believe they have announced their next game yet, and we don’t even know if it’s going to be a Mac, Windows, or Xbox title.

They were always good with the secrets, and such appears to still be the case.


This was news to me! Although, I long wondered if Jobs did something like this. wink It’s good to know.

That said, Bungie still makes the only games I play—Marathon on the Mac, and Halo on the X-Box. I won’t and don’t play any other games, except Portal. wink

Microsoft didn’t take Bungie to make a dig at Apple. They took Bungie for one reason. They made and make the best games on the planet, as seen by how HUGE the Halo franchise became. Only Bungie could do that. I was crushed when it first happened, but I’m not complaining now. (Though I may never forgive Apple for killing the Newton) wink



This could be why SJ blew a gasket over the sale to MS Apple may have had their eye on Bungie too. Microsoft got there first.


Long live Marathon and Aleph One!

I still sit down and play the ORIGINAL Marathon once a year…

The music and story still rock!  (And I have played Halo 1 and 2 and when the XBox geeks start talking story and weapons I mention where all that “fancy” alien terminology came from. (Mjolnir, Wrnacrackter (?), (the name of the missile launcher) etc….  All Marathon originals….  And I am sure Leela and Durandal show up in HALO somewhere too…)

Thanks Bungie! and I hope to see more new stuff!

From North Pole.


well, either way i wouldve still bought there games. why would apple be angered anyway? i mean, why would it matter? bungie is the ssole gaming company that actually has a chance to rule minds everywhere. try to find a game by any other company without as many glitches. all i can say is for apple to stick to ipods.


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