Could Apple be the “Strategic Partner” of Iger’s Dreams?

Bob Iger and Tim Cook at the Allen & Co conference in 2016.
Bob Iger and Tim Cook at the Allen & Co conference in 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
August 18, 2023

Five years ago, at SXSW, I asked Eddy Cue, the seemingly perennially buoyant Apple services S.V.P. and Tim Cook sidekick, whether his company would ever acquire Netflix or The Walt Disney Company. It’s the kind of question that Cook and Cue receive not infrequently from reporters and analysts and the occasional shareholder. When you oversee the entertainment assets for a ~$3 trillion tech giant, especially one with big ambitions in the streaming space, it is often assumed that you’ll eventually just buy your way into market dominance. 

Similar assumptions have been made about Amazon (which did buy MGM, after all) and Microsoft (which bought Activision) and Alphabet (whose most valuable acquisition was surely YouTube, which now has the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket). In this turbulent and transformative era of media consolidation, Mega-FAANGS are seen, often inexplicably, as plausible buyers for every decent (or halfway decent) entertainment asset that may or may not be for sale, Biden antitrust enforcement paratroopers be damned.