Apple and Disney could have merged under Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs

“I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies,” Disney CEO Bob Iger wrote.

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Apple and Disney could have had a very different future if Steve Jobs were still alive, Disney CEO Bob Iger has revealed Wednesin an excerpt of his upcoming memoir published in Vanity Fair on Wednesday. Recounting his close personal friendship with Jobs and Disney’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar in 2006, Iger said he and the Apple CEO spoke several times a week.

“I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies,” Iger wrote. “Or at least discussed the possibility very seriously.”

According to Iger, the purchase of Pixar turned Disney Animation’s fortunes around. But he had to convince Jobs on the merits of the acquisition, including through a list of pros and cons on a whiteboard in an Apple board room in Cupertino. Jobs was initially afraid it would destroy Pixar’s culture and that the “distraction will kill Pixar’s creativity.”

“Disney will be saved by Pixar and we’ll all live happily ever after,” Iger said he told Jobs at the time. 

He also discussed the proposed $4 billion acquisition of Marvel with Jobs.

“He claimed to have never read a comic book in his life (‘I hate them more than I hate video games,’ he told me), so I brought an encyclopedia of Marvel characters with me to explain the universe to him and show him what we would be buying,” Iger wrote. “He spent about 10 seconds looking at it, then pushed it aside and said, ‘Is this one important to you? Do you really want it? Is it another Pixar?'”

Jobs was partially responsible for pushing through the Marvel acquisition thanks to making a call to Marvel’s then-CEO and controlling shareholder Ike Perlmutter, Iger said.

Iger had also agreed within his first few weeks as CEO to put five Disney shows on Apple’s new iPod.

“We saved two companies,” Jobs told Iger in the summer of 2011. Jobs passed away in October that year.

Iger’s memoir, The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, will be published on Sept. 23.

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