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Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger leaves Apple’s board

Bob Iger

Bob Iger is chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Co.

(Chris Pizzello / Invision)

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger has left Apple’s board, as Disney and Apple prepare to compete for consumers when they launch rival video subscription streaming services later this year.

Iger, who has been a member of Apple’s board since 2011, left his position on Sept. 10, according to a document that Apple filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Disney and Apple did not return a request for comment on the reasons for Iger’s departure.

Daniel Ives, a managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, said he believes Iger was “in enemy territory” on Apple’s board.

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“This was a clear indication that now Disney views Apple as a competitor” in video streaming, Ives said. “This was Iger sending a signal that the gloves are off.”

Apple on Tuesday said it would launch its subscription video streaming service, Apple TV+, in November at $4.99 a month, about half as much as what analysts had expected. The service, which will launch with nine original programs, is priced lower than other subscription streaming services such as Netflix’s basic plan of $8.99 a month.

Disney plans to roll out its streaming service, Disney+, on Nov. 12 at $6.99 a month.

Iger in a statement called serving on Apple’s board “an extraordinary privilege” and said he had “utmost respect” for Apple CEO Tim Cook, board members and Apple’s team. Iger joined Apple’s board in 2011, fulfilling a request that Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs had before he passed away.

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“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,” Iger said in a statement.

Iger and Jobs were friends, with Iger seeking Jobs’ business advice on how to revamp Disney’s retail stores in 2008. Jobs, then the company’s largest individual shareholder, advised Disney to control those properties. Disney later bought back the chain.

The companies shared a close relationship in the past, with Disney being the first studio to sell TV shows and movies to Apple’s iTunes store.

Times staff writer Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report.


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