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Microsoft in spat over 'Halo' for mobile phones

Hold the phone, Master Chief: In-Fusio has launched a portal for "Halo" wallpapers and ringtones, but a planned "Halo" game on mobile phones has yet to come out. (Image: Verizon Wireless)

This week's court filings reveal an interesting little saga, with implications for one of Microsoft's most significant franchises: In-Fusio, the mobile-phone game developer that struck a deal last year to adapt Microsoft's "Halo" video game for the small screen, has filed suit in an attempt to keep the agreement intact.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, says Microsoft is seeking to terminate the deal because In-Fusio hasn't made the second of four scheduled $500,000 payments. In-Fusio, in turn, says it hasn't made that payment because Microsoft hasn't lived up to its own obligations. An excerpt from the complaint:

"Under the agreement, In-Fusio's Halo programming designs are subject to Microsoft's approval, which cannot be unreasonably withheld. Nevertheless, Microsoft has thwarted In-Fusio's efforts to develop Halo under the agreement. Indeed, in the last 11 months, Microsoft has approved no fully-developed In-Fusio Halo game designs; ignoring and then refusing to accept In-Fusio's game design concepts with little or no explanation and leaving In-Fusio little basis to revise its concepts to obtain Microsoft's approval."

For more, you can read the full complaint: PDF, 13 pages. A related memorandum, PDF, 25 pages, has more on the original agreement and In-Fusio's allegations. Microsoft hasn't yet filed its formal response with the court.

Considering the In-Fusio dispute and the "Halo" movie delay, Microsoft isn't having an easy time extending the "Halo" universe to new platforms. The "Halo" games have been top sellers for Microsoft's Xbox consoles, and the company's Bungie Studios is currently working on "Halo 3," scheduled for release next year.

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