Steven P. Jobs, Pixar, and Disney: how would Apple be affected?

“The calculus of the Walt Disney Company buying Pixar Animation Studios is, on its face, simple: big media conglomerate plus vaunted computer animation studio plus closer ties with Steven P. Jobs, the maverick Pixar founder, equals potential powerhouse,” Richard Siklos writes for The New York Times. “But because Mr. Jobs’s other job is chairman and chief executive of Apple Computer, a deal also raises the possibility of a warmer relationship between Disney and Apple if Mr. Jobs plays an active role at the company.”

“Although there would be no direct equity relationship between Apple and Disney, Mr. Jobs would be the largest individual shareholder in both, and would be likely to hold at least a board seat at Disney,” Siklos writes. “In the complex and sometimes querulous dynamic between media and technology companies, such a move would no doubt raise questions about the ripples those ties can be expected to cause.”

Siklos writes, “For example, would Mr. Jobs view Disney as the preferred content supplier for future generations of Apple iPods and other hardware that distribute and play media products like songs and TV shows? And would Disney’s media rivals be less inclined to do business with Apple as it introduced new services because they would be abetting a competitor? Similarly, will technology companies vying with Apple to develop new products for media consumption be less inclined to work with Disney lest their best ideas find their way up the California coast from Disney’s Burbank headquarters to Apple’s Cupertino campus?”

“The biggest question about what a Pixar acquisition would mean for the media industry broadly rests more on the question of how big a role Mr. Jobs envisions for himself at Disney,” Siklos writes, “But even if his position is a relatively passive one – similar, say to Ted Turner’s influence at Time Warner after he sold his Turner Broadcasting System to the company a decade ago – just the fact that Mr. Jobs will have such a large personal investment in Disney means that he will become more invested in a future where content companies can share in the spoils alongside device makers like Apple.”

Full article here.

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24 Comments

  1. Adobe bought over Aldus = Good/Bad
    Adobe bought over Micromedia = Bad (No more FreeHand)
    M$soze bought over Expressions software = Bad. No improvement
    Compaq bought over Digital = Bad
    HP bought over Compaq = Bad

    Disney bought over Pixar = (?) Don’t know yet.

    But I don’t care, just as long as they continue to make good movies, that’s all we care.

    And also as long as it doesn’t affect Apple negatively, it’s ok.

  2. Disney bought over Pixar = (?) Don’t know yet

    Well, we can chide Sony for being a hardware maker and a content provider/protector.. and look how that turned out…

  3. Steve as figurehead chairman of the board for Disney, is fine. An active role would be bad for Apple. Disney is too big and diversified. Its problems would take too much of Steve’s precious time.

  4. Al Gore is on the Board of Directors of Apple – are more democrats buying Apple computers now? Has the Democratic committee switched all its buying to Apple computers? Since most teachers are democrats and their democratic hero Al Gore is a board member of Apple are all schools now switching to Apple computers?

    The answer is no. Being a board member on a company means little or nothing.
    Steve being on the Disney board means little.

    Steve had/has a huge investment in Pixar, but did he make them immediately switch to using Apple computers? No. In fact in 2003 Pixar was using Dell work stations.

    ——–

    An interesting excercise in “what if” is what if Intel bought Apple and licensed OSX to all computer makers????

  5. But remember this happened before….

    NeXT (Steve Jobs) bought by Apple = very good (becomes head of whole company)

    Pixar (Steve Jobs again) bought by Disney = probably good. (Will he take over Disney?)

    So I’m not worried for this switch…. anything with Steve Jobs turns out good…

  6. Don’t let Disney do this, it would be so bad if Pixar were sold. Their a creative company who take their time to produce something great & they also look after the workers. I read on a web site, that they sent their animators to scuba diving class, before they worked on Nemo. I can’t see Disney doing that. They’ll be pressuring them to cut corners & get the job done, so can work on the next project. Then the stories will suck & look awful. And who’s fault will it be, oh, John Lasseter’s name comes to mind & then he’ll be fired for under performing. This is the corporate greed that goes on, so don’t trust them.

  7. Queezie,

    “Steve had/has a huge investment in Pixar, but did he make them immediately switch to using Apple computers? No. In fact in 2003 Pixar was using Dell work stations.”

    Actually, that is not true. Pixar bought approximately 1000 dual processor servers running linux to replace their Sun servers. Their desktop machines have been predominantly linux/unix machines running proprietary software.

  8. “I read on a web site, that they sent their animators to scuba diving class, before they worked on Nemo. I can’t see Disney doing that.”

    Do you even know what you’re talking about? Yeah, Disney locks all their animators in cubicles and hopes things turn out okay. I heard for the Lion King Disney wouldn’t even give their animators photos of lions. I heard they just taped the dictionary definition of lion on the front door to the animation studios.

    “Being a board member on a company means little or nothing.”

    Yeah, it’s not like the BOD is supposed to direct the company or anything. They’re there for the free coffee, aren’t they?

    “An interesting excercise in “what if” is what if Intel bought Apple and licensed OSX to all computer makers????”

    It’s really not that interesting. If only you added one more question mark, then maybe.

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