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Bungie Jumps, Farallon Follows

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This week brought two significant corporate acquisitions in the Macintosh world: Microsoft's acquisition of game developer Bungie Software and wireless networking company Proxim's purchase of Farallon Communications, currently a TidBITS sponsor.

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Microsoft & Bungie -- Microsoft's acquisition of privately held Bungie Software for an estimated $20 to $40 million was the most atypical. Microsoft games don't enjoy (or suffer) the high profile of some of the company's other products; however, Microsoft's forthcoming Xbox video game console is reportedly impressive and Bungie was swayed from more lucrative offers by the opportunity to work on titles exclusively for Xbox. Although Bungie's development teams will relocate to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Bungie will retain some of its identity: the group is tentatively titled "Bungie Studio" and games will continue to be released under the Bungie name. Bungie's founders, Jason Jones and Alex Seropian (who wrote a fascinating article about software distribution back in TidBITS-352), will head up Bungie Studio and decide which platforms to support. For additional details, see Bungie's FAQ and Daily Radar's coverage.

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Microsoft's recent support for Macintosh games is negligible, with only a couple of their roughly 30 game titles appearing for the Mac. The optimistic view would have Bungie's strong pro-Macintosh influence impacting on Microsoft's game development decisions, but there's also concern that Macintosh games - even relatively popular ones - may not sell in quantities sufficient to meet Microsoft's requirements, and thus meet the same fate as Microsoft's Macintosh multimedia products.

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Proxim & Farallon -- Farallon's complicated corporate history becomes more convoluted with this week's acquisition by wireless networking company Proxim. Farallon started as an independent company, changed its name to Netopia in 1997, then spun back out of Netopia in the middle of 1998. Now, after almost two years of independence, Farallon is being acquired by Proxim for roughly $10 million in Proxim stock and $4 million in cash.


Although Proxim claims to be the leader in the wireless networking market, the move still extends Proxim's product line significantly, adding HomePNA-compatible products like Farallon's HomeLINE. Also, Proxim's products seem to be available only for PCs, unlike Farallon's cross-platform product line. Since Proxim wants to offer complete solutions to large customers like cable or telephone companies providing networking to homes, schools, and businesses, Farallon's Macintosh products and expertise will help.

The Farallon division of Proxim will continue to support Farallon's existing products and continue development on SkyLINE (wireless), HomeLINE (phone line networking), and NetLINE (wired Ethernet) product lines.


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