Disney CEO Bob Iger Discusses Working with Steve Jobs, Apple, and Pixar
Monday December 29, 2014 9:34 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
Fortune\'s January edition showcases an interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger and his "Empire of Tech," focusing on Disney\'s growing media empire with acquisitions of brands such as
, and Marvel expanding the company\'s already considerable reach over the past few years. With Disney\'s and Iger\'s histories intersecting with those of Apple and Steve Jobs, Iger unsurprisingly takes a few moments to discuss topics such as his relationship with Jobs, his view on Apple and Disney\'s history, and Disney\'s attempt to stay relevant in a growing technological world.
In one anecdote, Iger recalls the moment in 2005 when he was about to be named as the new CEO of Disney, calling Jobs ahead of time to let him know what was coming. Disney\'s own animation was seen as "lifeless" in the years before the company\'s 2006 acquisition of Pixar, and amid reports of "bad blood" between former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Jobs himself and an inability to come to an agreement for a continued distribution deal following the successful release of Toy Story, both studios\' futures remained up in the air.
Even before the news became public, he called Jobs to let him know big changes were coming. “I told him I was well aware of how strained the relationship had become,” says Iger. “I said, ‘I know you think it’s going to be business as usual, but I’d like to prove to you that it’s not.’ ”
Jobs gave Iger the benefit of the doubt and told him to come up as soon as the dust settled. And that’s just what Iger did—not only because he knew Pixar was the key to revitalizing Disney’s lifeless animation studio, but also because he saw Apple’s CEO as a valuable technology partner. The sentiment, apparently, was reciprocated. Ensuing fruitful years of a Disney/Apple alliance began immediately, with Iger flying out to Cupertino to officiate a deal to get Disney-owned content on the iTunes Store, a big deal for the still-budding platform.“Steve recognized that in Bob he actually had a partner,” says Edwin Catmull, current President of both Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “In the subsequent years they thought of each other as true partners. That’s what he wanted, and that’s not what he had previously.”Two weeks after becoming CEO, Iger stood alongside Jobs to announce that Disney-owned ABC and its network of programs would be available on the iTunes Store, which only sold music at the time. Iger notes that Disney "got backlash from everybody -- from affiliates, retailers, and the guilds." He goes on to remark, however, that the experience "changed my relationship with him [Jobs] bigtime. And it led to a much better dialogue on Pixar.”
The Disney/Apple partnership continues to grow stronger, even in the wake of Jobs\' death. Iger joined Apple\'s board just months after Jobs\' passing, and Jobs\' widow Laurene Powell Jobs remains Disney\'s largest individual shareholder thanks to Disney\'s acquisition of Pixar.
And Iger isn\'t afraid of the necessity to innovate, as highlighted by Apple CEO Tim Cook in a quote for the piece. “He has the courage to lose sight of the shore,” Cook says of Iger. “He understands the tradition of Disney but isn’t wedded to it.” But Iger also knows that both companies\' pasts are important in looking towards the future, and remembers fondly brainstorming sessions with Jobs.
“Occasionally we would stand in front of a whiteboard and talk about ideas,” says Iger. “We’d just muse on business. When you think about it, media’s the intersection of content and technology—it’s all about storytelling, like photography and the camera. So we’d talk about that a lot, the intersection between the story and the gadget.” The partnership isn\'t only growing strong behind boardroom doors, either. Just last week Apple Pay launched at Walt Disney World, its "Disney Movies Anywhere" app debuted exclusively on the App Store before expanding to Android recently, and even the upcoming Apple Watch is said to be including a Mickey Mouse-themed watch face option.
Iger saved Disney like Jobs saved apple... Both are geniuses...
And all went well until Disney decided to enter the Smart Phone market... :(
Apple\'s Watch is designed to be both fashionable and functional.
Larger iPad with display of 12-13 inches under development.
Apple Campus 2 Site to Include Preserved Historic Barn
Apple's spaceship-shaped campus under construction in Cupertino will include a spot for a historic barn, reports the San Jose Mercury News. First constructed in 1916, the Glendenning Barn is a...
Syfy\'s Upcoming \'12 Monkeys\' TV Series to Integrate With Philips Hue Lighting System
Syfy is bringing the classic 12 Monkeys science fiction thriller to TV in a new series that will provide an immersive lighting experience for iOS device owners with a Philips Hue lighting system. For...
Apple Adds New 14-Day Return Policy for iTunes Digital Goods in EU Countries
Apple is updating the terms and conditions governing purchases made by European Union consumers in the Mac App Store, iOS App Store, iBooks Store and iTunes Store. These changes appeared recently in...
Adventure Platformer \'Icycle: On Thin Ice\' Named App of the Week, Available for Free
Thanks to the annual App Store freeze that took place over the holidays last week, a new App of the Week missed its normal Thursday announcement date. As the shutdown lifts, however, the App Store...
Chaos Computer Club Demonstrates How to Reproduce Fingerprints Using Public Photos
The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) claims that it can reproduce fingerprints to overcome security measures from simple photos of a user's fingers, reports VentureBeat. CCC member Jan "Starbug"...
Apple Japan Debuts \'Start Something New\' Campaign on Website Highlighting Products, Apps, and Artists
Apple today debuted a new campaign on its Japanese website called "Start Something New" (Google Translate) which showcases individuals using its latest products and apps to create art and...
Apple Pay Website Updated to Suggest Some Partners May Not Make 2014 Rollout Goal
As the end of the year approaches, Apple today slightly altered its micro site dedicated to Apple Pay to update the status of several of its partnerships. Retailers that teamed up with Apple and plan...
Apple-Led Rockstar Consortium Sells Remaining Patent Portfolio for $900 Million
San Francisco patent company RPX today announced it is purchasing more than 4,000 telecommunications patents from Rockstar, an Apple-led consortium that previously acquired the patents from bankrupt...
• Apple Reopens Russian Online Store With 35 Percent iPhone Price Increase (67)
• Facebook Launches \'Messenger\' Companion App \'Stickered\' in iOS App Store (52)
• Super Nintendo Emulator \'Floppy Cloud\' Sneaks Into App Store [Update: Removed] (54)
• \'DockPhone\' Adds Phone Dialing to Yosemite, Bypassing FaceTime (22)
• Walt Disney World to Begin Accepting Apple Pay Starting December 24 (22)
• Buyer\'s Guide: Deals on iPad Air 2, MacBook Air, iMac, Apple Accessories, and More (9)
MacRumors attracts a broad audience of both consumers and professionals interested in the latest technologies and products. We also boast an active community focused on purchasing decisions and technical aspects of the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac platforms.
An Update to \'Goat Simulator\' on Mobile Likely Coming in Late January or February
\'Bounce On Back\' Updated with Game Center and Challenge Levels, New Lite Version Released
\'Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace\' Republished by Developer and Temporarily Free
PixelJam\'s Wacky Platformer \'Potatoman Seeks the Troof\' Heading to Mobile
EU Countries Now Have 14-Day Return Policy on iOS Games and Other iTunes Digital Goods
\'Platform Panic\' Review - Retro Style, Modern Structure
Apple Releases iOS 8.1 with Apple Pay, Photo Album, More
Apple Announces iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 with Touch ID
Apple Announces iPhone 6 Models and NFC-Based Electronic Payment System
Apple Watch Revealed with Early 2015 Release Timeframe and $349 Price Tag