In a Vanity Fair excerpt from Bob Iger's new book, "The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company," the Disney CEO got candid about his friendship and business relationship with Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
Jobs died in 2011, but Iger said that if Jobs were still alive, there's the possibility that the two mega companies, Apple and Disney, would have become one.
"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," Iger wrote. "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."
Jobs was a board member of The Walt Disney Company and majority shareholder of the animation studio Pixar, which Disney acquired in 2006.
But Jobs' feelings about Disney's culture could have made a merger difficult. Earlier in the excerpt, Iger reminisced about Jobs' frustrations with Disney.
"Among his many frustrations was a feeling that it was often too difficult to get anything done with Disney," Iger said. "Every agreement needed to be vetted and analyzed to within an inch of its life, and that's not how he worked. I wanted him to understand that I didn't work that way, either, that I was empowered to make a call, and that I was eager to figure out this future together, and to do so quickly."
Because of that attitude, and other factors, Iger expected Jobs to react negatively when Iger proposed the idea of Disney buying Pixar. But he didn't.
"I waited for him to hang up or to erupt in laughter," Iger recalled. "The quiet before his response seemed endless. Instead, he said, 'You know, that's not the craziest idea in the world.'"
Jobs was ultimately satisfied with the Pixar merger, according to Iger.
In the excerpt, Iger recounted a conversation with Jobs close to the end of his life. "Look what we did," Jobs said, according to Iger. "We saved two companies."
"The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company" will be released on September 23.