Learn about the curious history of Apple and Pixar, with Steve Jobs as a connecting link — 2022

To speak of Pixar today is to speak of one of the great film production companies, owned by Disney. However, it was not always the Mickey Mouse company that owned it, but rather it has historically had more to do with Apple. To be more specific, with Steve Jobs, one of the illustrious founders and historical CEO of the apple company. Pay attention to the incredible story that Jobs crossed paths with Pixar.

It all started with the firing of Jobs by Apple

There is no harm that is not good, says a well-known saying, and the truth is that Steve Jobs must have thought a lot about it long after he was fired from the company he founded with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1976. That company it was Apple and the historical genius was fired at the end of the 80s, which ultimately helped him to focus on other projects.

In 1986, with Steve already out of the company with the bitten apple, fate wanted to join his path along with that of Pixar, although at that time it did not exist as such. What existed was a production company called Lucasfilm . Neither more nor less than the mythical stamp 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 like failure after having managed to raise 37.9 million dollars, only one million more than what had been invested in its production.

That fiasco was attached to the star wars licensing crash after the release of Return of the Jedi. Lucas was not going through his best personal moment either, 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 eventually closed, and Graphics Group became a small independent company with another $5 million in capital. The first seed had been planted and with it Pixar was born.

Pixar was born as a computer company

Steve Jobs had taken charge of the new company, but wanted to detach 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 graphics memory for the time. However, this computer failed miserably in the market and in 1990 it was decided to end the company's activity in terms of hardware development.

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

Lawrence Levy, key to Pixar's success

Jobs, in one of his well-known sudden outbursts, decided to go looking for a person to help him refloat Pixar. Something similar to what he had done years ago at Apple when he went looking for the then president of Pepsi, John Sculley. This time he decided to go in search of Lawrence Levy, CFO of Electronics for Imaging. When he got the call, he thought they wanted to commission him to work at NeXT. He had barely heard of Pixar but Jobs, who was a great trickster, he managed to make him believe in the project and get him to join the team.

Lawrence Levy

The move worked out well for the former Apple CEO, as the chemistry that both processed with each other was very good . The time of Levy's arrival also 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, led by Levy, Pixar went public without making much noise . It wouldn't be until the release of Toy Story that the company really got big. The well-known toy movie was released on November 22, 1995, managing to raise in its first weekend the whopping figure of 30 million dollars , thus surpassing even the most optimistic forecasts of the experts.

The film's success continued to grow and make Pixar's name 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 SA, Cars and many others in which the Toy Story sequels also stand out.

The troubled Pixar-Disney relationship from Pixar to Disney

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he was still running Pixar, even though the company was already shooting alone. Although his involvement was no longer so great, the truth is that he never ceased to be present in the most important decisions of the company. Decisions like the one that had to be made in 2003 and 2004, years in which Pixar experienced clashes with Disney.

At that time Pixar was not entirely owned by Disney, but they were linked 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 Disney's new CEO served to calm the waters. The good relations between both companies returned and with it gave way to, in January 2006, could be permanently closed sale of Pixar to Disney. This ended up being a good outcome that allowed Pixar to continue being a production company with its own name, but also within one of the largest film companies in the world.

Apple winks at Disney today

It is curious that despite no longer having any type of relationship, Apple and Pixar seem to continue to be linked in some way. In fact, it is enough to see some of the animated films of the Disney firm to see how some of the company's products are filtered. For example, in the Toy Story movies it is common to see MacBooks in which the apple logo is clearly visible.

But the winks are not one-way, but Apple throws them too. The Apple Watch is a good example of this with the spheres that were added a few years ago and whose protagonists are the characters from Toy Story. This is probably due to the good relationship they also maintain with Disney, of which spheres such as those of Mickey and Minnie are also available.

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