Disney CEO Bob Iger Resigns from Apple Board to Avoid Streaming Conflict

On the same day as Apple revealed their streaming option in the form of Apple TV+, on September 10th, Bob Iger resigned from their board of directors in order to avoid a conflict with Disney’s own streaming service, Disney+.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has resigned from Apple’s board of directors, Apple said in an SEC filing on Friday. Apple and Disney stock were unchanged on the news.

Disney is launching streaming video service Disney+ on Nov. 12, which will compete with Apple’s Apple TV+ service, scheduled to become available on Nov. 1.

Iger resigned on Sept. 10, the day Apple announced the price and release date for its streaming service. The two streaming services will increasingly come into conflict in the future as both compete for original content.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege to have served on the Apple board for 8 years, and I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple, and for my fellow board members,” Iger said in a statement. “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.”

Apple said in a statement, “Bob has been an exemplary board member for nearly eight years, and for as long as he has led Disney he has been one of Apple’s most trusted business partners. He is a dedicated, visionary CEO and a role model for an entire generation of business leaders. More than anything, Bob is our friend. He leads with his heart and he has always been generous with his time and advice. 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.”

Apple downplayed potential conflicts in a financial filing earlier this year. “Apple enters into arms-length commercial dealings with The Walt Disney Company, including sales arrangements, digital services content licensing agreements, and similar arrangements,” Apple said in its proxy filing. “Apple does not believe that Mr. Iger has a material direct or indirect interest in any of such commercial dealings.”

This isn’t the first time that a director has left Apple’s board because of competition concerns. In 2009, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s board when it became clear that Google’s Android would directly compete with Apple’s iPhone.

Let the battle commence!