Steve Jobs went ballistic, giving Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer an earful for stealing the most important games developer then on the Mac, Bungie Software, way back in 2000.
As a result of Jobs’ angry call to Ballmer, Ed Fries, the former vice president of game publishing at Microsoft, and the man central to Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare and Bungie, was told to broker a deal with Apple to appease Jobs.
As the video above shows, Jobs was particularly annoyed at the Microsoft deal because he’d hosted a public preview of Halo at a Macworld Apple event just months before. The loss of the game to the platform was a personal blow.
This fresh insight into relations between Apple and Microsoft comes from Develop magazine, which has interviewed Fries, who said,
“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.”
Bungie has delivered the software that defined Mac gaming acros the ’90’s, including Marathon, Oni and Pathways Into Darkness (which everyone forgets, which I played). It was also building Halo, which is why Microsoft purchased the company for the Xbox.
Fries adds, “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.”