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Bob Iger says Disney and Apple would have merged if Steve Jobs was still alive

Disney CEO Bob Iger and Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Apple CEO Steve Jobs (R) shares a laugh with Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger in 2006. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed Wednesday that Apple and Disney likely could have merged if Steve Jobs had not died in 2011.

“I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously,” Iger wrote in an excerpt of his new book, The Ride of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, published in Vanity Fair.

Iger was longtime friends with the Apple co-founder and CEO, and wrote about their relationship and how Disney and Apple could have ended up partnering closely with each other — or completely merging.

The companies got close to it: In 2006, Disney acquired Pixar, where Jobs was the CEO and the largest shareholder. Iger said that Jobs believed that the merger of the two companies effectively saved them. 

“[Steve] was convinced that Pixar had flourished in ways that it never would have had it not become part of Disney, and that Disney had been re-energized by bringing on Pixar,” Iger wrote. 

Iger discussed his collaboration with Jobs, with Disney being one of the first to venture into the video streaming world by offering five shows on the video iPod when it first came out. Iger even told Jobs about his idea for an “iTunes platform for television, ‘iTV,’ as I described it.” 

Iger resigned from his Apple board seat on September 10, coincidentally the same day that Apple announced its Apple TV+ programming. Apple TV+ debuts on November 1, with Disney’s own streaming service, Disney+, following on November 12. 

Of course, Jobs passed away in 2011 at the age of 56, but we can’t help but wonder what it would look like in a world where Disney and Apple were one superpower. What kind of tech would be implemented at Disney theme parks with the help of Apple? Would the vast imagination that Disney is known for play a part in creating new and exciting Apple products?

At the same time, Disney and Apple are both the dominant companies in their fields, and have been known to gobble up or outright destroy smaller rivals. Would the merger of two companies this large have caused an antitrust issue for the ages? 

Digital Trends reached out to Apple for comment on Iger’s statements, and we’ll update this story once we hear back. 

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