Apple's Steve Jobs 'raged' at Steve Ballmer when Microsoft bought Halo

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
When Microsoft acquired Bungie, creator of the "Halo" franchise, to develop the flagship game for its first Xbox gaming console, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs reportedly made an angry phone call to Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.



"Halo" was first introduced as a game for the Mac, but all that changed when Microsoft purchased the developer, Bungie, in 2000 to make the game a launch title for its then-unreleased Xbox gaming console. The first Xbox was released in 2001, and the premier launch title, "Halo: Combat Evolved," was celebrated as a landmark achievement.



Prior to Microsoft's acquisition of Bungie, "Halo" was planned as a Mac game, just as Bungie's previous titles "Marathon," "Myth" and "Oni" were released for the platform. And Microsoft's deal was apparently enough to prompt a phone call from Jobs to Ballmer, according to Ed Fries, former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft.



In an interview with Develop, Fries revealed that Jobs called almost immediately after the Microsoft-Bungie deal was announced. The report said that Jobs "raged at Microsoft" over the acquisition.



"[Jobs] 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 said. He added that Ballmer told him to contact Jobs and "calm him down."



Microsoft attempted to placate Jobs' alleged unhappiness by making a new deal that would bring some other game titles to the Mac. The original "Halo: Combat Evolved," even made its way to the Mac years after it debuted on the Xbox.



"We did this deal with Apple where we'd port some PC games to the Macintosh and help [former Bungie vice president] 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," Fries reportedly said. "It was a pretty strange time."



Bungie may yet again make games for the Mac, as the company broke free of Microsoft in a deal that allows the Redmond, Wash., software giant to retain the rights to the Halo franchise. Brian Jarrard, franchising director at Bungie, said in 2007 that Mac games could be in the company's future.



"Now that we're branching off and controlling our destiny, that puts us in a position where we could put ourselves back on the [Mac] platform definitively again," he said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 129
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    Yeah, I remember that day... was very sad. Two of the only games I played around that time were from Bungie... Myth and Myth 2.
  • Reply 2 of 129
    Can't blame Bungie for selling out but if Jobs thought very highly of this company then he should've just bought them.
  • Reply 3 of 129
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by robertwildman View Post


    good on you jobs. He should be allowed to do that make a good game then let a Microsoft take over. bungie you have fail so bad if you stayed on you will be making lots more money.



    Oh couldn't agree more. As we all know, Halo struggled on the unsuccessful XBOX Platform. It could of been a major success on the Powerhouse Gaming Platform, the Mac!!



    Thanks again for your well thought out and intelligent post!!!
  • Reply 4 of 129
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    Quote:

    Bungie may yet again make games for the Mac, as the company broke free of Microsoft in a deal that allows the Redmond, Wash., software giant to retain the rights to the Halo franchise. Brian Jarrard, franchising director at Bungie, said in 2007 that Mac games could be in the company's future.



    Maybe Apple should buy Bungie now and stop developing for XBoX. Then we will see how Ballmer feels.
  • Reply 5 of 129
    How many times will we hear about Steve's kurt and inappropriate comments? Is it not enough to be leading one of the highest valued companies? His narcissistic personality was old last century and I can only hope that his "handlers" would get a tighter rein on him. I love their products even though many of them have had to be replaced because of poor quality control. But I am committed to the system and going over to a PC would be counterproductive. So, how about a little more innovation and a little less conversation.
  • Reply 6 of 129
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post


    Can't blame Bungie for selling out but if Jobs thought very highly of this company then he should've just bought them.



    $51B in cash can buy a lot of revenge. Buy up every significant development firm and discontinue all of their PC development to focus on Mac and iOS development. Adobe, Intuit, game developers, etc. No PC Photoshop, Lightroom, Quicken... All PC users are left with are apps made by MS.
  • Reply 7 of 129
    boogabooga Posts: 1,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post


    How many times will we hear about Steve's kurt and inappropriate comments? Is it not enough to be leading one of the highest valued companies? His narcissistic personality was old last century and I can only hope that his "handlers" would get a tighter rein on him. I love their products even though many of them have had to be replaced because of poor quality control. But I am committed to the system and going over to a PC would be counterproductive. So, how about a little more innovation and a little less conversation.



    Back in 2000 Apple was hardly flush with cash, "one of the highest valued companies", or in a position to buy Bungie as others have suggested. In fact I think it tended to still have "beleaguered" next to its name whenever a journalist wrote about it. Jobs is leading "one of the highest valued companies" because he MADE it one of the highest valued companies, and that was in no small part because of his in-your-face attitude, so I'd cut him a little slack there.



    Although Bungie is now independent, Microsoft owns all the Halo-related IP so there's no point in acquiring them to "get back" at Microsoft? Bungie can rot for all I care.
  • Reply 8 of 129
    Are we sure this story is accurate? All the junk I've read on the web over the decades is that Steve Jobs has been extraordinarily anti-game on the Mac platform. He wanted the Mac to be treated as a serious business machine (for the rest of us?). Hard to believe he'd then have a fit when a gaming vendor left the platform. Then again, he's supposedly a fairly mercurial personality.
  • Reply 9 of 129
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post


    So, how about a little less conversation.



    Good idea... you start...
  • Reply 10 of 129
    Waaaah. Jobsie can't have his way all the time. Spoiled brat...
  • Reply 11 of 129
    Seriously, is this what passes for "news" these days?



    "As the world turns slowly through the days of our lives of the young and the restless, my children, the bold and the beautiful, spend their time at general hospital."



    There, that should hold everyone until AI comes up with some more "news".
  • Reply 12 of 129
    I once had dinner with the Bungie guys at a Macworld Boston at the height of the popularity of Marathon. It was disappointing to lose them as a Mac developer but I can't blame them for taking the (large) check from Microsoft. And as mentioned earlier, Apple wasn't in a position to do anything about it 10 years ago, unlike now.
  • Reply 13 of 129
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post


    How many times will we hear about Steve's kurt and inappropriate comments? Is it not enough to be leading one of the highest valued companies? His narcissistic personality was old last century and I can only hope that his "handlers" would get a tighter rein on him. I love their products even though many of them have had to be replaced because of poor quality control. But I am committed to the system and going over to a PC would be counterproductive. So, how about a little more innovation and a little less conversation.



    I would rather deal with someone who is honest about their feelings than someone who stuffs their feelings and puts up a front. It's not good in personal relationships and not good in corporate ones either. If you have feelings, express them and resolve the situation directly and honestly. It sounds like that is what happened. Instead of Steve pussing out and getting all passive aggressive over the next decade, looking for some payback, he let them know exactly how he felt. They dealt with it and worked out a deal.



    Notice that he didn't go to the press with this; we only know about it because an MS person told the tale years later when it didn't matter anymore, except to those looking to take a cheap shot at Steve.
  • Reply 14 of 129
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post


    How many times will we hear about Steve's kurt and inappropriate comments? Is it not enough to be leading one of the highest valued companies? His narcissistic personality was old last century and I can only hope that his "handlers" would get a tighter rein on him. I love their products even though many of them have had to be replaced because of poor quality control. But I am committed to the system and going over to a PC would be counterproductive. So, how about a little more innovation and a little less conversation.



    I would argue that Steve's personality has helped to steer the company in the right direction. You need to make bold changes and not be afraid to upset a few people. Steve has it mastered. Those same people that may be negatively effected by Apple's moves still respect him. His comments are often the start of industry wide debates. Nothing wrong with that. Someone needs to stir the waters when something needs to be changed. Steve's management style is part of Apple's innovation.



    Maybe you would be happier to use a PC with their PS/2 ports that should have been removed a decade ago, but their CEOs are afraid of change.



    If you want to talk about inappropriate comments.... you should look at Microsoft's CEO.
  • Reply 15 of 129
    Bungie is a blood traitor and a sell out. F' Bungie. F' Microsoft. While I'm at it, F' anyone who disagrees.
  • Reply 16 of 129
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post


    Can't blame Bungie for selling out but if Jobs thought very highly of this company then he should've just bought them.



    Sometimes we forget the history of Apple. In early 200s, Apple was still touch and go, in terms of its finances; in spite of the success of the iPad series.



    Let us not forget the market situation also at the time, the internet bubble happened in late 1999 causing a very long market downturn that did not recover until about 2001. While most that were decimated were internet companies, the tech sector, specially computer companies were also affected.



    On the other hand, Microsoft was at the height of its power -- a US$600 billion company, in early 21st century.



    With these conditions making an acquisition would be the last thing on Apple Computer, Inc's priorities. Even if they made a bid, Microsoft would have found a way to outbid them (just like what Google did with AdMob, more recently).



    It did not stop there. I remember in our university in the mid 1990s, the store used to carry and provide technical support for both Wintel and Mac computers. Whether it was true or not, supposedly some Microsoft representatives offered a sweet deal with the company, the following year, the university computer division no longer carried carried nor provided technical support for Macs.



    That was the dark modus operandi of Microsoft, at the time. Or, have you forgotten what it did to bury Netscape? At the time, small companies that show promise can easily be burried by Microsoft by announcing that they were coming up with a similar product, in the future. So, some small companies had no choice but to bow to a Microsoft acquisition. And, since they are powerkess, Microsoft can also dictate the price of the acquisition.



    A decade after...



    CGC
  • Reply 17 of 129
    joe hsjoe hs Posts: 488member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post


    $51B in cash can buy a lot of revenge. Buy up every significant development firm and discontinue all of their PC development to focus on Mac and iOS development. Adobe, Intuit, game developers, etc. No PC Photoshop, Lightroom, Quicken... All PC users are left with are apps made by MS.



    Steve Jobs is probably reading this and taking you seriously. And don't forget to purchase the Monopoly Control Authority - we wouldn't want any of those ass holes getting in the way
  • Reply 18 of 129
    I wonder if Steve told Ballmer that he's going to kill Microsoft and then threw a chair across the room...
  • Reply 19 of 129
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,549moderator
    Apple did the same with Shake, Final Cut, iTunes and Logic. What goes around comes around.



    Marathon wasn't all that great anyway and even Halo doesn't have anywhere near the depth of games like Half-Life.



    I'm more looking forward to Half-Life 3 for the Mac than whatever Bungie comes up with next.



    Bungie is a one-trick pony. They are often referred to as one of the few good developers left in the industry but what shows a good developer is variety. Raven Software IMO is better than Bungie in that regard.
  • Reply 20 of 129
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Not Unlike Myself View Post


    Bungie is a blood traitor and a sell out. F' Bungie. F' Microsoft. While I'm at it, F' anyone who disagrees.



    Yes, but how do you really feel?
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