Apple and Disney combining forces? Maybe if Steve Jobs were still alive

What you need to know

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger feels that if Steve Jobs were alive, Disney could have merged with Apple…
  • Iger said he grew close to Jobs and the two could "say anything to each other."
  • Iger also revealed that Jobs was integral to getting Disney's acquisition of Marvel done.

Vanity Fair on Wednesday posted an excerpt from Disney CEO Bob Iger's new book, "The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company," and in it is a fascinating look at Iger's connection with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and how the two could "say anything to each other." Incredibly, Iger reveals that if Jobs were still alive, it's very possible Disney and Apple would have merged.

Apparently, Jobs had a pretty poor relationship with Disney when Michael Eisner was CEO, even publicly announcing he'd never work with Disney again after previously collaborating on Pixar films, including Toy Story. But things turned around when Iger took over in late 2005.

Iger said he and Jobs initially bonded over an idea about a video iPod, and from there their relationship blossomed, capped off by an appearance together at a One More Thing event announcing the video iPod.

Their relationship grew stronger until, ultimately, the two were able to tell each other anything.

We enjoyed each other's company immensely, and we felt we could say anything to each other, that our friendship was strong enough that it was never threatened by candor. You don't expect to develop such close friendships in late in life, but when I think back on my time as CEO—at the things I'm most grateful for and surprised by—my relationship with Steve is one of them.

Iger goes on to say that many of Disney's recent successes are thanks to Jobs, including Disney's acquisition of Marvel. Iger then says that there was a very real possibility of Disney and Apple merging before the Apple's co-founder's death.

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 excerpt posted on Vanity Fair is a fascinating look at how two business titans forged an unlikely relationship. It's well worth a read.

Brandon Russell