Bob Iger: Disney and Apple likely to have merged if Steve Jobs was alive

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 18
Disney CEO Bob Iger in an upcoming memoir says he believes his relationship with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs would have led to a merger between their companies, similar to Disney's assimilation of another Jobs company, Pixar.

Jobs and Iger
Steve Jobs (left) introduced Disney CEO Bob Iger at an Apple event in 2005. | Source: A.P. Photo via Vanity Fair


In an adapted excerpt from Iger's book, "The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company," printed in Vanity Fair, the Disney chief remembers his time with Jobs. From patching up relations with Pixar soured by Michael Eisner to the $7.4 billion acquisition of the storied animation studio and beyond, Iger tells the behind-the-scenes story of Jobs' impact on Disney.

While much of the tale has been told in countless interviews, news stories and exposes, the excerpt presents a few tidbits that have, until now, gone unreported. Among the new information is Iger's belief that a Disney-Apple merger would be on the table if Jobs were still alive, a major revelation presented almost as a throwaway quote.

"With every success the company has had since Steve's death, there's always a moment in the midst of my excitement when I think, I wish Steve could be here for this. It's impossible not to have the conversation with him in my head that I wish I could be having in real life," Iger writes. "More than that, I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously."

Iger goes on to detail his relationship with Jobs, which grew from tenuous beginnings prior to the Pixar buy to a strong personal bond that informed a number of key decisions in Disney's modern history.

The purchase of Pixar instantly catapulted Jobs from critical outsider to Disney's largest individual stakeholder. In that role, and as a board member, Jobs would be consulted on a variety of major resolutions, including Disney's tie-up with Marvel.

Iger last week stepped down from Apple's board of directors as the companies are due to clash with competing video streaming services this fall. Apple will field Apple TV+ on Nov. 1, while Disney is slated to debut Disney+ -- complete with a slew of Pixar content -- on Nov. 12.

"The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company" releases on Sept. 23 and is up for preorder on Amazon.com for $19.60.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 74
    Well he knew Jobs better than me (which is not at all) but it sure seems like Pixar and Apple were different beasts. Jobs founded Apple in a garage rather than as an investor later in its life, and he nursed it back from the brink to a skyrocketing future. The iCEO became the famed phoenix rising from the ashes...Why sell it?

    Edit: I think perhaps this article has the “similar to” backwards:

    Iger in an upcoming memoir says he believes his relationship with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs would have led to a merger between their companies, similar to Disney's assimilation of another Jobs company, Pixar. 

    ...Apple acquiring Disney as it did Beats isn’t really merging or similar to Disney acquiring Pixar, IMO.
    edited September 18
  • Reply 2 of 74
    Wait does he mean Disney and Apple would have merged together? If that's true....LOLOLOL! I seriously doubt that. I don't see any reason what so ever how that would benefit either company. I don't care how well the relationship was between Bob and Steve. It's totally different from Disney taking over Pixar which actually made sense. 
    edited September 18 lolliverviclauyycmdriftmeyercornchip
  • Reply 3 of 74
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,807member
    Maybe Steve could have sat them down prior to the release of Avengers: Endgame and explained that time travel doesn't work that way.
    radarthekatJaiOh81cincyteecornchip
  • Reply 4 of 74
    Pixar was just animation studio bought by Disney when it succeeded. It makes absolutely no sense to think that an entertainment company would merge with a software/hardware company.
    lolliverJWSC
  • Reply 5 of 74
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    I said this a few articles ago. Wish Steve was alive. Apple TV+ and Disney+ would be one service.
    uraharaanantksundaramJWSCkestralMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 6 of 74
    rcfarcfa Posts: 786member
    If Steve were alive, another inverse merger would have happened, and Disney would be an Apple division 
    AppleExposedSolimobirdjahbladeMetriacanthosauruscornchip
  • Reply 7 of 74
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member

    macxpress said:
    Wait does he mean Disney and Apple would have merged together? If that's true....LOLOLOL! I seriously doubt that. I don't see any reason what so ever how that would benefit either company. I don't care how well the relationship was between Bob and Steve. It's totally different from Disney taking over Pixar which actually made sense. 

    Right? Apple would never get into selling media!! They are a computer company!!! LOLOLOLOL!!

    netrox said:
    Pixar was just animation studio bought by Disney when it succeeded. It makes absolutely no sense to think that an entertainment company would merge with a software/hardware company.
    Right? Apple would never get into the entertainment business!! They are a phone company!!!!!1111



    racerhomie3kestralMetriacanthosaurusrandominternetperson
  • Reply 8 of 74
    I said this a few articles ago. Wish Steve was alive. Apple TV+ and Disney+ would be one service.
    Why?
    lolliverronnMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 9 of 74
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,080member
    Someone is trying to sell a book.  I highly doubt this would have happened.  
    StrangeDayslolliverchristophbrogifan_newronnMetriacanthosaurusdavgregcornchip
  • Reply 10 of 74
    I said this a few articles ago. Wish Steve was alive. Apple TV+ and Disney+ would be one service.
    I think so too. 
    The merger of Disney is Apple would have been unlikely though, but a better integration of the services - it could have been achieved. 
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 11 of 74
    It's fascinating how the late Steve Jobs could give a name of a fruit for his company. It just hits me how simple and yet elegant is "Apple".
  • Reply 12 of 74
    Maybe thats some subtle shade at Tim... even if the prospect of a merger doesn't make a lot of sense... perhaps better integration on the media side, and thats where the "dib" might be now that Apple is doing its "own" thing....
  • Reply 13 of 74
    Agree with most of the commenters but one thing that both companies have in common is an unbelievable capacity to evolve, change and reinvent themselves to stay beloved and relevant.

    But agree, outside of Apple TV +, little really to merge here.
    ronn
  • Reply 14 of 74
    Well duh. 

    Jobs had a controlling share in most of disney - granted to him when he “sold” Pixar, which was trouncing Disney at the box office. Disney was desperate and Jobs saved the day. I think it was 51% of the company shares? Dude was owning. 

    He would have taken disney and used that as Apples entertainment content brand much like they did with beats. Only Disney would have fared better. Not sure jobs would have even bought beats. 

    Iger would he be working for Steve. 

    Steve Jobs has such clear vision. It’s really difficult to gain that kind of clarity. But he had it. 

    Apple would have assimilated Disney and it would have been grand. 
    edited September 18 AppleExposed
  • Reply 15 of 74
    Well he knew Jobs better than me (which is not at all) but it sure seems like Pixar and Apple were different beasts. Jobs founded Apple in a garage rather than as an investor later in its life, and he nursed it back from the brink to a skyrocketing future. The iCEO became the famed phoenix rising from the ashes...Why sell it?
    It wouldn’t have been Steve selling Apple. 

    Thats ridiculous. 

    It would have been Apple assimilating Disney into Ann entertainment and media division of Apple. 

    There was some speculation that Jobs wanted to go in that direction back in the day and that Iger was not for it. He was too narrow minded. Jobs had the controlling share and it could have happened. But Steve fell ill around that time. 

    As it is, Iger just steals ideas at Apple board meetings and then copies Apple TV Plus and comes out with... “Dinsney... Plus”. Doesn’t even bother to be original. 
    edited September 18 AppleExposedcornchip
  • Reply 16 of 74
    So, the real question is if there is anybody at Disney or Apple that can legitimately comment on this whole thing...  and if not, perhaps someone is trying to sell a book?  Wonder what the Woz would have to say about it.  You would think his comments would have real weight.
    edited September 18
  • Reply 17 of 74
    irelandireland Posts: 17,685member
    kevin kee said:
    It's fascinating how the late Steve Jobs could give a name of a fruit for his company. It just hits me how simple and yet elegant is "Apple".
    Well, he listened to The Beatles and their record company was called Apple.


    edited September 18 kestral
  • Reply 18 of 74
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    I said this a few articles ago. Wish Steve was alive. Apple TV+ and Disney+ would be one service.
    Why?
    Jobs owned Disney and was the CEO of Apple.

    Well duh. 

    Jobs had a controlling share in most of disney - granted to him when he “sold” Pixar, which was trouncing Disney at the box office. Disney was desperate and Jobs saved the day. I think it was 51% of the company shares? Dude was owning. 

    He would have taken disney and used that as Apples entertainment content brand much like they did with beats. Only Disney would have fared better. Not sure jobs would have even bought beats. 

    Iger would he be working for Steve. 

    Steve Jobs has such clear vision. It’s really difficult to gain that kind of clarity. But he had it. 

    Apple would have assimilated Disney and it would have been grand. 

    Jobs would have had Beats and Disney both as arms of Apple. He had a great relationship with Dr. Dre and Iovine also.

    I'm wondering if Jobs' wife sold the Disney shares and doesn't give a sh** about neither company.
  • Reply 19 of 74

    macxpress said:
    Wait does he mean Disney and Apple would have merged together? If that's true....LOLOLOL! I seriously doubt that. I don't see any reason what so ever how that would benefit either company. I don't care how well the relationship was between Bob and Steve. It's totally different from Disney taking over Pixar which actually made sense. 

    Right? Apple would never get into selling media!! They are a computer company!!! LOLOLOLOL!!

    netrox said:
    Pixar was just animation studio bought by Disney when it succeeded. It makes absolutely no sense to think that an entertainment company would merge with a software/hardware company.
    Right? Apple would never get into the entertainment business!! They are a phone company!!!!!1111



    I guess you forgot that Apple is not just AppleTV +. Sure it would have helped that, but how is merging or taking over Disney going to help sell iPhones, Macs, Apple Watches, HomePods, etc. It won't. It's not like Disney taking over Pixar which completely made sense as they were using them anyways. 

    You're not making any sense at all. Just because you wish it would have happened doesn't mean it makes sense for either party. 
    edited September 18
  • Reply 20 of 74
    Jackson242Jackson242 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Well duh. 

    Jobs had a controlling share in most of disney - granted to him when he “sold” Pixar, which was trouncing Disney at the box office. Disney was desperate and Jobs saved the day. I think it was 51% of the company shares? Dude was owning. 

    He would have taken disney and used that as Apples entertainment content brand much like they did with beats. Only Disney would have fared better. Not sure jobs would have even bought beats. 

    Iger would he be working for Steve. 

    Steve Jobs has such clear vision. It’s really difficult to gain that kind of clarity. But he had it. 

    Apple would have assimilated Disney and it would have been grand. 
    Jobs received just over 7% of Disney I believe which his widow still owns. 
    ronnrandominternetperson
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