What’s next? Microsoft to dump Windows Vista for Ubuntu Linux? We live in the best of times, the worst of times.
For Steve Jobs and companies, it’s the best of times, and deja vu all over again. What’s good for Jobs is good for Apple and the Mac, right?
The particulars of the deal with Disney are strikingly simple, and remarkably similar to Jobs’ takeover of Apple Computer (again) starting in late 1996, and ending with complete control in mid-1997.
Basically, Pixar sells itself to Disney for $7.4-billion in stock. Back in 1996, Apple announced it was buying Steve Jobs’ struggling computer software company, NeXT. Based on the outcome, NeXT swallowed up Apple.
Jobs is Pixar’s largest shareholder, and since the deal is stock only, Jobs becomes Disney’s largest shareholder, gets a seat on the Disney board of directors, and gets a chance to relive deja vu all over again (with apologies to Yogi Berra).
In mid 1997, when Jobs completed his “purchase” of Apple Computer, he installed his left and right and backup people. Avie Tevanian, Jon Rubenstein, and others. They worked hard, made tough decisions, got a few breaks, lost a few battles, but righted the ship and sailed into the sunset.
Accept my apologies for the metaphorical mixture, but I’m trying to fathom the possiblities for the next few years. Disney. Apple. Think different.
Steve Jobs’ trusted Pixar President Ed Catmull becomes president of the new combined Pixar and Disney animation studios, and report to Disney head Robert Iger. Dick Cook remains as chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.
Pixar Executive VP John Lasseter will become chief creative officer of the animation studios and principal creative adviser at Walt Disney Imagineering, which handles Disney’s theme parks.
Uh oh. Pixar’s key people are in all the right places. What about Steve Jobs? Well, he still has his day job at Apple, but he’ll keep a part time gig as a member of Disney’s board.
Does anyone else see the same historical precedent as me? Jobs was ousted at Apple, starts up NeXT, buys Pixar, gets bought by Apple, now runs the show.
Jobs gets into a tussle over Pixar’s future with Michael Eisner, former head of Disney. Jobs raises a lot of noise, threatens divorce, Eisner retires, in comes new guy Robert Iger (played by Gil Amelio, head of Apple back in 1996 and early 1997), and everyone begins to make nice nice and kiss kiss.
How long before it becomes apparent that Disney was really swallowed up by Pixar, Jobs, and friends? And what of it?
What should we expect from Disney, the entertainment goliath? And what of Steve Job’s position on the Disney board? What’ll happen? Closer ties to Apple? Poor Gil Amelio brought in Steve Jobs as an “advisor”. What do board members do for CEO’s? Advise, right?
Apple wants to own the digital entertainment distribution market and they’re moving quickly in that direction with the success of the iPod. Disney can help Apple get there with content, Hollywood connections, distribution deals, and much much more.
Will Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck finally show up on the movie list in the iTunes Music Store? Is the Pixar-Disney deal simply a repeat of Jobs’ takeover of Apple in the last century. History repeats itself, you know.
What I expect of this is simple. Content for Apple. Another distribution outlet for Disney’s huge portfolio of content. Content is king. The ball is rolling forward at an increased speed.
More content. More products from Apple that hold, store, manage, display, play that content. The year is yet young and Pixar finally cashes in with a great liquidation event. Disney’s looking shrewd. 2006 looks like another good year for Apple, too.
What of Microsoft? Windows Vista? Who? What? you ask? Me, too.
Tera Jean Patricks
One thing to note here, is that Steve and Pixar are trading a very expensive entertainment stock that’s flying high—for a stock that’s in the doldrums and trading low. Watch Disney stock soar over the next few years. The rich get richer.
Jack D. Miller
Floodgates. They’re open now. Video content will come roaring through and other studios and networks will get on board as Apple becomes both the distribution giant, and a player giant.
Anybody remember a company called Sony? They produced players and movies and TV shows.