A Disney Apple Merger Might Have Happened if Steve Jobs Had Lived
In a fortuitous bit of timing, Disney CEO Bob Iger is busy promoting his new memoir, The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, which will be published next week, just days after resigning from the board of Apple because the company’s new TV streaming service will put it in direct competition with Disney and its own streaming service, which is launching just weeks after Apple’s.
Disney and Apple will be fighting for customers in the months and years ahead. But according to an excerpt from Iger’s memoir published by Vanity Fair, the two companies could have had a very different outcome — or perhaps the two companies wouldn’t have been two companies at all. Iger speculates that if Apple’s famous founder and CEO Steve Jobs hadn’t passed away in 2011, the two corporations could 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.
Iger and Jobs had a strong relationship; elsewhere in the excerpt, Iger talks about his deal with Jobs to purchase Pixar, a move that helped both company’s fortunes at a key time. He tosses off the possibility of two of the biggest companies in history joining forces very casually, but it would have been perhaps the most significant business deal of the 21st century, and the ramifications of such a deal are slightly mind-blowing to contemplate. If Disney and Apple merge, and Disney could have been the official streaming service of Apple hardware, do they have the bandwidth and content down Netflix? And that’s just one example of what could have occurred. It won‘t happen now ... but what if it had?
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