Bob Iger Says Disney and Apple May Have Merged If Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

The Disney CEO remembers the late Apple innovator in an excerpt from his upcoming memoir.


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The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, a new memoir from Bob Iger, is out later this month. Ahead of the Random House book's drop date, Iger shared an excerpt focused on his relationships with the late Steve Jobs.

This portion, published by Vanity Fair Thursday, sees the Disney CEO recalling a fateful walk he and the celebrated Apple innovator shared before in 2006 mere minutes before the announcement of Disney's Pixar acquisition.

With the announcement coming around 1 p.m. that day, Iger said, Jobs approached him "just after noon" and told him to join him on a walk to a bench on Pixar property. 

"Steve put his arm behind me, which was a nice, unexpected gesture," Iger wrote. "He said, 'I'm going to tell you something that only Laurene'—his wife—'and my doctors know.' He asked me for complete confidentiality, and then he told me that his cancer had returned."

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Asked why he had decided to share this news at that exact moment, Iger recalled, Jobs explained that he felt it was only right given what was at stake.

"I am about to become your biggest shareholder and a member of your board," Jobs told Iger, according to the memoir excerpt. "And I think I owe you the right, given this knowledge, to back out of the deal."

Iger, of course, did not back out. Instead, the deal was ultimately agreed to by way of a 9-2 vote, with Disney's stature in the animation sector showing improvement "almost right before our eyes."

Iger also spoke generously on his and Jobs's continued relationship, as well as its undeniable impact on Disney at large. "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 said. See the full memoir excerpt here.

Earlier this month, Iger resigned from Apple's board of directors on the same day the company announced the price and drop date for its impending streaming service. Disney is also launching a competitive streaming service of its own, with both Disney+ and Apple TV+ set to arrive later this year.

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