Disney’s former CEO Robert Iger is finally going to step down from his position by the end of this year. During his 15 years tenure (2005- 2020) as the head of the entertainment giant, Iger expanded Disney’s content and reach in international markets by acquiring Pixar from Steve Jobs for $7.4 billion in 2006, Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009, along with Lucasfilm in 2012 and the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox in 2019.
Reminiscing, in an interview with CNBC, Iger expressed that if Steve Jobs had lived, the merger of Disney with Apple would have been an eventuality because of his admiration of technology and creativity.
In 1979, Pixar was part of the Lucasfilm computer division but in 1986, it became a corporation with Steve Jobs’ fundings and vision, after he had resigned from Apple in 1985. Under Jobs, Pixar became a successful computer-animated films studio that introduced CGI technology and changed the movie experience with hits like Toy Story in 1991, and Monsters, Inc. in 2002. But distracted by his return to Apple as its CEO, Steve Jobs sold Pixar to its then-new Disney CEO Robert Iger in 2005.
Steve Jobs appreciation for “great” technology and creativity would have led to the merger of Disney and Apple
Acknowledging that a merger deal was never discussed with Steve Jobs, Iger expressed that it would have eventually happened if Jobs had lived.
Speaking to CNBC in an interview that aired on Tuesday, the former CEO of Disney reported that he never talked about a potential combination with Jobs, who died in 2011, but that the Apple founder appreciated the benefits of combining “great technology” with “great creativity.”
“I’m pretty convinced we would have had that discussion. … I think we would have gotten there,” Iger said of a potential merger, noting that Jobs became a major DIS shareholder after the Mouse House bought his Pixar animation studio in 2006.
Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 after fighting cancer and Tim Cook became his successor. Under Iger, Disney+ was launched on November 12, 2019, and under Tim Cook, Apple TV+ was launched on November 1, 2019. Although both video streaming services launch at the same time, Disney+ has seen massive success. Its Q3, 2021 earnings report reveals it has crossed 116 million subscribers while Apple TV+ is expected to hit 36 million subscribers by 2026.