Disney’s Bob Iger quits Apple: What took so long?

I’m having deja vu all over again.

From the Hollywood Reporter’s “Bob Iger Steps Away From Apple Board of Directors“:

Iger resigned Sept. 10, the same day Apple unveiled details on its Apple TV+ streaming video service… The service will launch on Nov. 1, with a $4.99 per month price point.

Disney, meanwhile, will launch its own streaming service Disney+ on Nov. 12 at $6.99 per month. Iger, on a call with Wall Street analysts last month, said Disney+ will “be treated as the most important product that the company has launched” under his leadership…

Iger first joined Apple’s board in 2011, and had been chair of the tech company’s corporate governance committee. He also served on its compensation committee, according to Apple’s annual proxy filing.

In the filing, Apple noted that Disney engages in business dealings with the company. “In the ordinary course of business, Apple enters into arms-length commercial dealings with The Walt Disney Company, including sales arrangements, digital services content licensing agreements, and similar arrangements,” the filing said. “Apple does not believe that Mr. Iger has a material direct or indirect interest in any of such commercial dealings.”

My take: How do corporate boards let this kind of thing happen? Remember Eric Schmidt? Google’s CEO sat on Apple’s board from before the iPhone’s launch until well after Android’s recasting as an iOS knockoff. That is to say, long after it was clear to outsiders that Schmidt’s position on Apple’s board had become untenable.

21 Comments

  1. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:

    Too early to tell if Mr. Iger’s presence on the Apple Board will result in Disney emulating Apple in their streaming efforts the way it looks like Mr. Schmidt walked away with a Google change of direction leading to Android with the look & feel of iPhone & iOS. Looks like the other way around with one Plus streaming service being more competitively priced than the other with additional incentives to subscribe due mayhaps to having significantly less of a content library than the other. But who knows, so we’ll see.

    0
    September 14, 2019
  2. Gregg Thurman said:

    I don’t think Google required intelligence from Schmidt to change the direction of Android. Andy Rubin, the creator of the original Android OS, certainly saw the handwriting on the wall when iPhone was introduced to the world.

    It then took Rubin and his team 2 years to introduce a poor copy of iOS, and another year for Samsung to introduce a virtual copy of the iPhone.

    0
    September 14, 2019
  3. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:

    Just to be clear, I doubt Mr. Iger’s presence on the board had direct influence on how either company presented their streaming offerings.

    0
    September 14, 2019
  4. Gregg Thurman said:

    OT: Barron’s, a publication I generally respect, published a piece today that can only be described as a hit piece.

    In it the author compared Apple TV+ to Netflix and Disney+, finding Apple TV+ wanting because Netflix has a library of ~5800 titles and Disney about 200, while Apple TV+ will launch 9.

    Apparently nobody informed the author that nobody watches 5000 titles in a month, and that Apple has a successful business RENTING single titles from a library of 2000 – 3000 titles for $4.99 each.

    1
    September 14, 2019
    • victor castroll said:

      @gregg

      barron’s print?

      0
      September 14, 2019
    • S Lawton said:

      Apple is offering a service with only 9 how’s and no backdoor of movies or series and you think that’s a good deal?

      1
      September 14, 2019
      • Gregg Thurman said:

        I rent 2 – 3 reruns each month from iTunes at $4.99 each. Paying $4.99 to see 9 originals is a steep discount. From the trailer I think The Morning Show will be worth $4.99 all by itself. If Apple launched a new series, on par with The Morning Show each month, it would be worth it. Hell, going to a theater to see a movie costs $12.50 per person

        I’ve had Netflix but gave it up because so much of its library is pure crap. $10 for a bunch of sh*t is not a bargain.

        I have Prime but only because I use Amazon quite a bit (free shipping).

        So yeah, I think Apple TV+, today, at $4.99, is a good deal.

        2
        September 14, 2019
        • S Lawton said:

          I would guess than you have no children in your household

          0
          September 14, 2019
          • Gregg Thurman said:

            I’ll be 73 in November and live alone (not counting my dog).

            0
            September 14, 2019
  5. Aaron Belich said:

    I hope this means we’ll finally see 4K Disney content now in iTunes/Movies. That’s been a travesty that has been allowed to go on for too long. Apple negotiated with everyone else to offer their content in 4K. Whatever needs to be paid, should be paid.

    0
    September 14, 2019
  6. Jerry W Doyle said:

    As far back as a year ago, I started with a degree of trepidation over Robert Iger’s ongoing position on the Apple’s governing board. I then mulled in my mind Tim Cook’s managerial wisdom and prudent discernment over retaining Robert Iger as a board director. I reflected retrospectively over the close cultivation of working relationship between Robert Iger and Steve Jobs, especially in how judiciously the two handled the acquisition by Disney of Pixar for $7.4 billion in stock giving Jobs at the time the largest shareholder position in Disney (7%); and, how John Lasseter and Ed Catmull came to respect Robert Iger in the consummation of that deal where Disney Animation was placed under Pixar with Lasseter and Catmull running the combined unit. Iger kept his word to Jobs, Lasseter and Catmull. Robert Iger was a man of honor throughout, no Eric Schmidt.

    Apple and Iger have a strong working relationship. It goes back to the days of Iger, who had multiple iPods that he used throughout his days from his 5 am workouts to late lates. Iger envisioned what the iPod could do for television shows, resulting in him offering up to Steve ABC’s most popular shows at the time, “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.” It was a complicated deal, but Iger and Jobs negotiated it all in one week through intense work predicated on trust. That level of trust and respect for Robert Iger continues to this day within the Apple family.

    In summary, I soon came to realize that a special culture “predicated on trust” long has existed between Apple and Disney, and Steve Jobs articulated the same before he passed.

    4
    September 14, 2019
  7. David Drinkwater said:

    I don;‘t see an issue here. Corporations want people on their Boards of Directors who can help provide direction for the company. Iger fit that role, what with cord-cutting being the phenomenon that it currently is.

    When it becomes clear (and made public) that there would be a conflict of interest, Iger stepped down. He may or may not have influenced the direction of the negotiations between Apple and Disney up to that point, but he would presumably have had an interest in serving the best interests of both companies.

    Maybe I‘m being naive, but as I see it, Iger stepped down when he did because he had to for public appearances.

    0
    September 15, 2019

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