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Disney CEO Cuts Ties With Apple As a result of They're Not Referred to as the 'Streaming Wars' for Nothing

Photo: Jon Kopaloff / Stringer (Getty)

Disney CEO Bob Iger has bowed out of Apple’s board of directors ahead of what’s sure to be a heated competition come November when both companies release their dueling standalone streaming services. According to a filing Apple submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, he resigned on September 10, coinciding with the company’s annual iPhone extravaganza, which also revealed important details about its Apple TV+ service.

“I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple and for my fellow board members,” Iger said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “Apple is one of the world’s most admired companies, known for the quality and integrity of its products and its people, and I am forever grateful to have served as a member of the company’s board.”

Earlier this week, Apple announced its dedicated streaming service will roll out for $5 per month starting on November 1, just 11 days before Disney+ launches. While that price point makes Apple+ one of the cheapest out there (Disney+, for example, starts at $6.99/month), its sparse opening lineup compounded with rumors that what little content it will offer is a complete snoozefest makes it tough to say whether the tech company will hold its own against the Disney corporate behemoth.

Regardless of how the streaming wars shake out, though, Apple’s announcement this week officially put the tech company in direct competition with Disney, forcing Iger to step away to avoid a potential conflict of interest. A similar incident occurred in 2009 when Google CEO Eric Schmidt distanced himself from Apple after it became clear that Android would be going head-to-head with the iPhone.

In a statement to multiple outlets Friday, Apple described Iger as an “exemplary” and a “role model for an entire generation of business leaders.”

“While we will greatly miss his contributions as a board member, we respect his decision and we have every expectation that our relationship with both Bob and Disney will continue far into the future.”


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