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Bob Iger Says He Believes Disney and Apple Would Have Merged if Steve Jobs Had Lived

Bob Iger Says He Believes Disney and Apple Would Have Merged if Steve Jobs Had Lived

Disney CEO Bob Iger has a new book due to be released later this month, and Vanity Fair has shared some key excerpts focusing on the late Steve Jobs. Iger, who is a former Apple board member, was close friends with the former Apple CEO.

When Iger first took over as Disney’s CEO, Apple’s relationship with the Mickey Mouse outfit was strained to say the least. Jobs had disagreements with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner over the end of deal that saw Disney releasing Pixar films. Iger rekindled the relationship between the two companies by praising the iPod and sharing his thoughts about iTunes as a television platform.

I’d been thinking about the future of television, and believed it was only a matter of time before we would be accessing TV shows and movies on our computers. I didn’t know how fast mobile technology was going to evolve (the iPhone was still two years away), so what I was imagining was an iTunes platform for television, “iTV,” as I described it. Steve was silent for a while, and then finally said, “I’m going to come back to you on this. I’m working on something I want to show you.”

When Jobs told Iger about the upcoming video-capable iPod, Iger agreed to put Disney TV shows on the device, leading to a confirmed friendship between the two men, and a new Disney/Pixar agreement.

Iger says Jobs told him his cancer had returned and had spread to his liver in 2006, just ahead of the announcement of Disney’s acquisition of Pixar.

He told me the cancer was now in his liver and he talked about the odds of beating it. He was going to do whatever it took to be at his son Reed’s high school graduation, he said. When he told me that was four years away, I felt devastated. It was impossible to be having these two conversations–about Steve facing his impending death and about the deal we were supposed to be closing in minutes–at the same time.

Jobs later underwent cancer treatment, and served on the Disney board of directors. (Jobs was Disney’s largest shareholder.) “Our connection was much more than a business relationship,” wrote Iger.

Iger says he wishes Jobs was still around to share each DIsney success with, and that he believes that if Jobs were still alive, the two companies might have merged.

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. 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.

“The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company” is set to hit the shelves of both real and virtual bookstores on September 23, 2019. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon for $19.60 ($14.99 on the Kindle and in the iBookstore).

The full book excerpt can be read over at Vanity Fair.