Disney and Apple Likely Would Have Merged If Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

Rumors about a Disney Apple merger swirled for years, but thanks to Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, we now know that a deal between the two companies was likely to actually happen – if, that is, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs didn’t die back in 2011.

Vanity Fair published an excerpt from Iger’s upcoming autobiography, “The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company,” in which Iger talks about the probability of the two companies joining forces, something that clearly would have had huge ripple effects across the entertainment industry.

“I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously,” Iger wrote. The rest of the article explains how he managed to get on Jobs’ good side after former Disney CEO Michael Eisner had driven a wedge between the two companies, takes us through Disney’s acquisition of Pixar, and offers more details about his personal and professional relationship with Jobs. It’s clear that the two men were quick to make deals and found each other (relatively) easy to work with, and considering Jobs’ penchant for taking big swings, it’s not hard to see how a merger could have happened.

A deal like that could have totally reshaped the landscape of entertainment today. This would have been long before AT&T bought Time Warner, and around the time that Netflix began to establish its dominance in the streaming field. With the combination of Apple’s technology and Disney’s extensive library of intellectual property, who knows what could have happened on that front? Would Netflix still be the power player it is today, or could a combined Disney and Apple have beaten them at their own game from the jump? The combined strength of Disney+ and AppleTV+ would be impressive, to say the least.

Even years after Jobs’ death, rumors of a possible merger were still happening. And while Disney seems as thought it’s sitting on top of the world, the talk in 2017 was actually for Apple to be the one to acquire Disney, not the other way around. (The rumored price tag was somewhere in the range of $200 billion.)

In the end, I’m glad this deal never happened. Disney is already overpowering in its dominance right now, but there’s a sliver of a percentage of a chance that some other studio could still come along and compete one day, and the addition of Apple’s tech infrastructure may have entirely obliterated that chance.

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