A really nice article over at Newsweek about Pixar's "Up" with a great short history of animation:
The little animation studio that could, Pixar was established in 1986 not as a cartoon factory but as a computer manufacturer. Many on the skeleton staff were cartoonists at heart, but the shorts they produced on company time were designed to promote the company hardware. When Toy Story, their pilot feature, was greenlighted in 1991, they rushed out to a screenwriting seminar. They were amateurs.
(BTW, Newsweek, love the new paper.)