The story of Apple and Pixar with Steve Jobs as the protagonist

It all started with the dismissal of Jobs by Apple

There is no harm that for good does not come, says a well-known saying, and the truth is that Steve Jobs should have thought a long time after his dismissal by the company he founded with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1976. That company it was Apple and the historical genius was fired in the late 80s, which ultimately served him to turn to other projects.

In 1986, with Steve already out of the company of the bitten apple, destiny wanted to join his path along with Pixar’s, although at that time he did not exist as such. What existed was a production company called Lucasfilm. Neither more nor less than the mythical seal of George Lucas.


That same year “Howard the Duck” had been released, a film produced by Lucasfilm and based on the comic of an anthropomorphic duck. The collection figures smelled of failure after having managed to raise $ 37.9 million, just one million more than what had been invested in its production.

That fiasco joined the Star Wars license drop after the premiere of “The Return of the Jedi.” Lucas was not going through his best personal moment, since he had recently divorced. But then Jobs appeared with an impressive offer of 5 million dollars in exchange for Graphics Group. This was a division of the computer area of ​​the Lucasfilm company. That sale was finally closed and Graphics Group became a small independent company with a capital of another 5 million dollars. The first seed had been planted and with it Pixar was born.

Pixar was born as a computer firm

Steve Jobs had taken charge of the new company, but wanting to unlink the past from it. Jobs wanted to use it to be a computer firm. The company’s flagship product was the Pixar Image Computer, a computer that had a huge graphic memory for the time. However, said computer it failed resoundingly in the market and in 1990 it was decided to end the activity of the company in terms of hardware development.

On the other hand, NeXT, the other company founded by Steve Jobs after his dismissal from Apple, did not finish starting and suffered serious economic problems. These joined the doubts Jobs had with Pixar, despite having signed a small collaboration agreement with Disney. Such were the doubts that were raised to sell the company even to Microsoft. Luckily or unfortunately, this did not end up happening.

Lawrence Levy, key to Pixar’s success

Jobs, in one of his well-known sudden starts, decided to go in search of a person to help him refloat Pixar. Something similar to what he had done years ago at Apple when he went to look for the then president of Pepsi, John Sculley. On this occasion he decided to go in search of Lawrence Levy, Chief Financial Officer of Electronics for Imaging. When he received the call, he thought they wanted him to work on NeXT. I had barely heard of Pixar but Jobs, who was a great trickster, He managed to make him believe in the project and make him join the team.

Lawrence Levy

The move went well for former Apple CEO, as the chemistry that both processed with each other was very good. The time of Levy’s arrival coincided with the production of «Toy Story», what would be the first animated film in history produced entirely with a computer.

The IPO and the triumph of Toy story

With the help of a good financial team, with Levy in the lead, Pixar went public without making much noise. It wouldn’t be until the premiere of “Toy Story” when the company really grew big. The well-known toy movie was released on November 22, 1995, getting a whopping $ 30 million in its first weekend, thus surpassing even the most optimistic forecasts of experts.

Pixar Toy Story

The success of the film continued to grow and make the name of Pixar will establish itself in the market as one of the most important labels in the world of animation. And so it has continued to this day with other great successes such as “Monsters S.A”, “Cars” and many others in which the sequels of “Toy Story” also stand out.

The problematic Pixar-Disney relationship from Pixar to Disney

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he was still directing Pixar, even though the company was already rolling alone. Although its involvement was not so great, the truth is that it never ceased to be present in the most important decisions of the company. Decisions like the one that had to be taken in 2003 and 2004, years in which Pixar lived clashes with Disney.

At that time Pixar was not entirely owned by Disney, but they were joined by a series of contracts. Negotiations for the extension of these documents did not come to fruition, so there was a rupture in the relations of both companies.

The arrival of Bob Iger as a new executive director of Disney it was used to calm the waters. The good relations between the two companies came back and with this, we gave way to January 2006, it could be permanently closed the Pixar sale to Disney. This ended up being a good outcome that allowed Pixar to continue being a producer with its own name, but also within one of the largest film companies in the world.

Winks from Apple to Disney today

It is curious that despite not having any kind of relationship, Apple and Pixar seem to remain linked in some way. In fact, it is enough to watch some of the Disney signature animation films to see how some of the company’s products sneak in. For example, in the Toy Story movies it is common to see MacBook in which the apple logo is clearly visible.

WatchOS WWDC 2017

But the winks are not unidirectional, but Apple also launches them. The Apple Watch is a good example of this with the spheres that were added a few years ago and whose characters are “Toy Story” characters. This is probably due to the good relationship they also have with Disney, of which areas such as Mickey and Minnie are also available.

In short, we have told a very interesting story and you probably did not know. It’s funny how sometimes everything is more related than we think. We wonder what would have happened to Pixar if Steve Jobs had not crossed. Or what would Apple be if Jobs had not finally returned because of Pixar’s success. In any case, each one in its field, have been and continue to be great companies today.

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