After eight years of guiding two of the largest companies on the planet, Disney chief executive Bob Iger resigned from Apple’s board of directors following the full reveal of Apple’s streaming service on Tuesday. Apple TV+ launches November 1 for $5 per month, while Disney+ arrives on November 12 at $7 per month. Disney also operates and owns two-thirds of Hulu.
When Bob Iger joined Apple’s board in 2011, shortly after the release of the iPhone 4S, it seemed unlikely that Apple and Disney would ever release competing products. However, declining hardware sales have pushed Apple towards services, while Disney’s empire of smaller studios has given them a library ripe for streaming. Iger first alluded to a conflict of interest in April, when he told Bloomberg he had been stepping out of meetings involving Apple TV+. His resignation has not come as a surprise.
“I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple and for my fellow board members,” he told the New York Times. “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 echoed Iger’s positive statements, calling him a “dedicated, visionary CEO and a role model for an entire generation of business leaders.” They continued, “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.”
The two companies’ streaming services will compete against each other more than against existing services like Netflix, as both are positioned as complements with smaller libraries of only original content. Apple’s service will come free for one year with the purchase of any major Apple product, while Disney+ includes content unmissable for Star Wars and Marvel fans. Both companies literally have billions to invest, so it’s hard to predict who the victor will be in this race, if any.