Apple executives were considering buying ´Halo´ developer Bungie Studios back in 2000, Develop magazine reports. The article cites former Xbox executive Ed Fries and Tuncer Deniz, then project lead at Bungie.
His [Deniz'] account of the circumstances was that Phil Schiller – Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing – then had a meeting with Steve Jobs to discuss if the Macintosh manufacturer should proceed with acquiring Bungie.
“Schiller asked Steve, who said no,” Deniz tells Develop. “[But] after a week, Steve said yes. Schiller calls Bungie, but Bungie had already consummated the deal with Microsoft”.
Apparently, Jobs was furious at the news that Microsoft had beaten them to it.
But now, speculation is rife again that Apple may be looking for another acquisition. The New York Times believes that it could even be a games company. Apparently, 50 billion US-Dollars are earmarked for acquisitions and such a large sum leads analysts to speculate that Apple might want to buy ARM Holdings, Netflix, Facebook or, indeed, Electronic Arts.
I have always said that Apple will most likely not enter the traditional gaming space again. To be more specific, Apple will never manufacture another dedicated games console. Buying a large publisher could be a viable option for them, but Apple could not allow EA to continue development for other platforms or they would run the risk of cannibalizing their own platforms.
And if EA titles would only be available on iOS and MacOS platforms from now on, EA would obviously wither away, I believe. MacOS still does not have the necessary installed base to allow brands like ´Medal of Honor´ to flourish and merit multi-million Dollar investments. The iOS platforms, on the other hand, simply are not built for deep and engaging titles (the main obstacle here being the lack of buttons). So, I would be very surprised if Apple really did make an acquisition in the gaming space.
Sources: Develop magazine, New York Times