Forbes magazine reports (direct quotes):
Bungie Studios will break away from Microsoft, its parent since 2000, both companies said Friday, though Microsoft will keep an equity interest in Bungie and will continue to publish many of Bungie's games--future spin-offs from "Halo," included.
Why would Microsoft allow such a marvelous cash cow to roam free? ... "This is seen as a reward to them for 'Halo' doing so well," says Bungie writing lead Frank O'Connor. Day-to-day interactions with Microsoft will remain the same, he says.
. . .
For what O'Connor calls the "medium term," Bungie is committed to giving Microsoft first choice of any games it develops, and working on programs for the Xbox, Microsoft Game Studios and a spin-off from the "Halo" series. O'Connor says that in the future it is possible that Bungie would develop games for other platforms...
In time, Bungie developers could see their work appear on those platforms and on portable systems and computers, rather than toiling exclusively for Microsoft.
"This lets us not be tied down to the processes inherent in a big corporation," says O'Connor. "We never conformed to the typical Microsoft culture."