Hardball With The Mouse (5/8/03)

Just because nothing particularly special's going on at Apple right now doesn't mean there isn't something Steveular in the works. Don't forget, kidlings: he's not just the Man with the Plan at Apple and one heckuva lawn darts player, he's also the CEO of Pixar, makers of fine animated films such as Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and the soon-to-be-released Finding Nemo. And in his Pixar role, he's reportedly been cracking some skulls of late. Rich, powerful skulls. Wearing big, round mouse ears.

You know that Pixar is still mired in an exclusive distribution deal with Disney, right? Well, the two companies haven't been on the best of terms lately, with the not-so-secret scuttlebutt saying that Steve's looking to take his ball and go home after the Disney-Pixar partnership expires in 2005. Reportedly he's a little miffed that Disney makes more money on Pixar's movies than Pixar itself does, and once Finding Nemo hits theaters in three weeks, even though he owes two more movies to Disney, Jobs is apparently allowed to go shopping for distribution deals with other studios who might be willing to give his company a bigger piece of the pie. But faithful viewer Mr. Nick mentioned that Steve and longtime sparring partner Michael Eisner are indeed still trying to hammer out a new agreement, as noted yesterday by an LA Times article.

Reportedly Jobs and Eisner "recently dined together" in the Bay Area to discuss what sort of terms might be mutually acceptable to both parties should the current partnership be extended, and judging by the fact that neither CEO is dead of arsenic poisoning, apparently things aren't all bad between the two companies. Given that Steve has "enormous leverage" in this situation (Pixar features to date have reaped over a billion dollars in profit-- homina homina homina), it's not out of the question that he can put the squeeze on Eisner for exactly what he wants: 100% of the profits, licensing fees, and merchandising sales, in exchange for paying Disney a flat distribution fee. We'll see in the months to come whether or not he'll manage to RDF his way into a deal that nice.

Now, if you're looking for someone to ask about whether all this Jobs-Eisner interaction is actually somehow related to the long-standing rumor that Disney is buying Apple, we'd suggest you ask us-- because we have little to no regard for the concepts of truth or accuracy, and therefore we'll tell you exactly what you want to hear: of course it's got something to do with a Disney-Apple buyout. Expect an announcement any day now.

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The above scene was taken from the 5/8/03 episode:

May 8, 2003: Turns out that iPods are the perfect backup system for radio stations-- or are they? Meanwhile, Steve Jobs gets his negotiating mojo workin' as he goes after a more lucrative Disney-Pixar deal, and Intel's new mobile technology boasts incredible battery life and yet another mind-numbingly stupid name...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3937: Radio: The Voice Of Reason (5/8/03)   Gosh, we'd been out of the daily soap-production grind for so long that we'd almost completely forgotten about that most heinous of plot-development stumbling blocks, the slow news day-- that is, until one jumped up and bit us in the neck yesterday...

  • 3939: When Marketing Gets Drunk (5/8/03)   Okay, so we're going a bit off-topic here, but it's a traditional sort of off-topic. You know how we've been out of the loop for a while? Well, that explains why we hadn't heard a thing about Intel's new mobile computing technology until faithful viewer Glen Sanford (who, incidentally, runs the incredibly useful and entertaining Apple-History.com) pointed out an IDG News article about all the new Wintel laptops arriving on the scene these days...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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