Bob Iger: If Steve Jobs Were Alive, We Would Likely Have Combined Apple and Disney

Disney CEO and former Apple board member Bob Iger has a new book coming out later this month, and ahead of its release, Vanity Fair has shared some key excerpts about Steve Jobs, who was Iger's close friend.

When Iger first took over as CEO of Disney, the relationship between the two companies was strained due to Jobs' disagreements with Michael Eisner and the end of a deal that had seen Disney releasing Pixar films.

Steve Jobs and Bob Iger. Image credit: Paul Sakuma/A.P. Photo

Iger broke the ice with Jobs and rekindled a relationship by praising the iPod and discussing iTunes as a television platform.
I'd been thinking about the future of television, and believed it was only a matter of time before we would be accessing TV shows and movies on our computers. I didn't know how fast mobile technology was going to evolve (the iPhone was still two years away), so what I was imagining was an iTunes platform for television, "iTV," as I described it. Steve was silent for a while, and then finally said, "I'm going to come back to you on this. I'm working on something I want to show you."
Jobs went on to tell Iger about the video iPod, and asked Iger to put Disney TV shows on it, which Iger agreed to, leading to a solid friendship between the two and ultimately, a new Disney/Pixar deal.

According to Iger, in 2006 just ahead of when Disney was set to announce its acquisition of Pixar, Jobs told Iger that his cancer had returned and spread to his liver, giving Iger time to back out of the deal.
He told me the cancer was now in his liver and he talked about the odds of beating it. He was going to do whatever it took to be at his son Reed's high school graduation, he said. When he told me that was four years away, I felt devastated. It was impossible to be having these two conversations--about Steve facing his impending death and about the deal we were supposed to be closing in minutes--at the same time.
After the acquisition, Jobs underwent cancer treatment and served on Disney's board as Disney's largest shareholder. He weighed in on important Disney decisions like the acquisition of Marvel, and even vacationed with Iger on occasion. "Our connection was much more than a business relationship," wrote Iger.

Iger says that with each Disney success, there's always a moment where he wishes Jobs was there, and further, he believes that if Jobs were still alive, the two companies may have merged.
With every success the company has had since Steve's death, there's always a moment in the midst of my excitement when I think, I wish Steve could be here for this. It's impossible not to have the conversation with him in my head that I wish I could be having in real life. More than that, I believe that if Steve were still alive, we would have combined our companies, or at least discussed the possibility very seriously.
"The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company" is set to be released on September 23, 2019. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon for $19.60.

The full excerpt, which has a lot more on the history of the deal between Disney and Pixar, can be read over at Vanity Fair.


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Disney’s Bob Iger Resigns From Apple’s Board of Directors

Disney chief executive and chairman Bob Iger has resigned from Apple's board of directors as Apple and Disney prepare to launch competing streaming services, Apple announced today in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Iger resigned on September 10, the same day that Apple shared additional information on Apple TV+, which will cost $4.99 per month and will be launching November 1.

Image via Bloomberg

With the launches of both the Disney+ streaming service and Apple TV+ looming, there was speculation that Iger was at risk of losing his seat on Apple's board as Disney+ will be a major Apple TV+ competitor.

Both services will offer original streaming television shows and movies, with Disney+ priced at $6.99 per month and also set to launch in November.

Iger in April said that he didn't believe his role on Apple's board was problematic and that at the time, he was leaving board meetings whenever streaming services came up. He said he had to leave infrequently because TV was a "very small business" to Apple comparative to other areas like hardware, but with Apple TV+ set to launch soon, his position has changed.

Bob Iger first joined Apple's board of directors back in 2011, one month after the death of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

In a statement shared by The New York Times, Iger called Apple one of the world's most admired companies.
"I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple and for my fellow board members. 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 in turn called Iger an "exemplary" board member and a trusted business partner.
"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."
With Iger's departure, Apple's board of directors includes seven members, which makes it one of the smallest among the major tech companies. Other board members include Art Levinson, James Bell, Al Gore, Tim Cook, Andrea Jung, Ronald Sugar, and Susan Wagner.


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4K Disney Movie References Spotted on Apple TV

Could Apple be about to announce that it's making Disney movies available in 4K format on Apple TV? Earlier this morning, MacRumors forum member Eminemdrdre00 spotted a 4K badge on the Aladdin banner in the carousel of the iTunes Movies app on his Apple set-top box. But when he selected it, the reference disappeared.


However, a Reddit user has since uploaded several images of Disney movie selection screens on iTunes – including several Marvel titles – all of which bear the 4K and Dolby Atmos badges. However, these references appear to have since been pulled.

When Apple said in 2017 that it had inked deals with all the major Hollywood studios to sell 4K movies on Apple TV 4K, Disney was the one notable holdout.


Perhaps an agreement has now been reached, although this would be all the more surprising given that both Apple and Disney are about to go head to head with their own rival streaming services.

Disney+ is set to launch on November 12 and will be available to watch on Apple TV (tvOS-supported models), iPad, and iPhone, with offline downloads supported on mobile. Rumors suggest Apple is also aiming to launch Apple TV+ this November.


Disney+ will cost $6.99 a month and give subscribers the ability stream up to four devices at the same time, with high-definition 4K content included at no extra cost.

Apple TV+ will offer all of Apple's original TV shows and movies that are in development, and Apple is reportedly spending upwards of $6 billion for content. Little is known about Apple TV+, but it will be available on all devices where the TV app is available when it launches.

Apple is widely expected to announce new iPhone and Apple Watch models at its event later today, and last-minute rumors suggest there could be a new Apple TV with an A12 chip as well, although the timing is unclear.

The event kicks off at 10:00 a.m Pacific Time. MacRumors will be providing live coverage of the event both here on MacRumors.com and on the MacRumorsLive Twitter account.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12, tvOS 13
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Disney+ Will Offer up to Four Simultaneous Streams and 4K Content for $6.99 a Month

Disney's annual D23 Expo kicked off in Anaheim on Friday, and the company has revealed more details about its upcoming streaming service, Disney+.


According to CNET, Disney+ will cost $6.99 a month and give subscribers the ability stream up to four devices at the same time, with high-definition 4K content included at no extra cost.

That will make it highly competitive with Netflix, which increased its base price to $9 earlier this year. Netflix also charges subscribers $13 for high definition streaming on two simultaneous streams, and $16 for 4K and four simultaneous streams.

Of course, Netflix has built up a large library of content in its nine years operating as a streaming service, but Disney has a huge stock of established IP to draw from and is launching its platform with more than 500 feature films and over 7,500 shows, including the entire Pixar library and a raft of original content.


The company is debuting a Ms. Marvel series on the platform, as well as She Hulk and Moon Knight. A live-action Lady and the Tramp adaptation and an Obi-Wan Kenobi original series starring Ewan McGregor will also be exclusive to Disney+.

Other previously announced perks include numerous Star Wars series like The Mandalorian, several Marvel character shows, and exclusive streams for upcoming Disney movies including Frozen 2 and a live-action The Little Mermaid.

Disney's original episodes will be released weekly, in contrast to Netflix's tendency to release entire seasons in one go, and subscribers to the service will be able to set up to seven different user profiles (Netflix allows up to four).

Disney+ is set to launch on November 12 and will be available to watch on Apple TV (tvOS-supported models), iPad, and iPhone, with offline downloads supported on mobile.


This holiday season is shaping up to be all about the battle of the streaming platforms, with Apple TV+, Apple's new streaming television service, also expected to launch in November.

Apple TV+ will offer all of Apple's original TV shows and movies that are in development, and Apple is spending upwards of $6 billion for content. Little is known about Apple TV+, but it will be available on all devices where the TV app is available when it launches.

Apple has not yet announced pricing for the service, but it is ad free and shows will be available to watch on demand. Current rumors suggest it could be priced at $9.99 per month.

Tag: Disney

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Disney Confirms Disney+ Coming to iOS and tvOS on Launch Day, Will Support Apple’s TV App

After offering a look at its upcoming streaming service Disney+, and announcing a bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu, Disney today confirmed the devices that will support Disney+ at launch. For Apple device owners, this means that you'll be able to stream Disney+ video on Apple TV (tvOS-supported models), iPad, and iPhone on launch day (via The Verge).


The rest of the full launch lineup for supported devices includes: Android mobile devices, Android TV, Chromecast, web browsers, PlayStation 4, Roku streaming players, Roku TV, and Xbox One. Disney made no mention of supporting Amazon's Fire TV platform at launch.

The company also confirmed that customers will be able to subscribe to Disney+ on iOS devices, and several other platforms. For Apple TV, Disney said that it will integrate its content with the Apple TV app and allow users to keep all of their movies and shows organized in the Up Next list. For now, Disney said that it has nothing to announce regarding an integration with Apple TV Channels.

Today's news comes out ahead of Disney's annual D23 Expo in Anaheim, which will start this Friday, August 23. It's likely more information about Disney+ will be revealed at the event. For now, Disney has created a new Twitter page dedicated to Disney+ and shared a new introduction video about the streaming service.

Disney+ launches in the United States on November 12 at $6.99/month. Customers in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and New Zealand will all gain access to Disney+ in November as well.

Tag: Disney

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Disney Announces Upcoming Disney+, ESPN+ and Ad-Supported Hulu Streaming Bundle Priced at $12.99 Per Month

During Disney's earnings call this afternoon, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that an upcoming streaming bundle that includes access to Disney+, ESPN+, and ad-supported Hulu will be priced at $12.99 per month.

The upcoming bundle will be available in the United States starting on November 12, which is the same date that the Disney+ streaming service is set to launch.


Disney earlier this year announced pricing for the Disney+ service, which is set to cost $6.99 per month, making it more affordable than many streaming services on the market. Hulu is priced at $5.99 per month with ads and ESPN+ costs $4.99, so the bundle saves customers close to $5 compared to purchasing all three services individually.

Disney is planning to make Disney+ available through the Disney+ app, which looks similar in design to Netflix and other streaming services based on a preview shown off in April. Disney+ and ESPN+ content will be available on web browsers, smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, and game consoles, which is essentially everywhere that you can watch most streaming services.

The Disney+ service and the newly announced bundle will compete with Apple TV+, Apple's upcoming streaming service that is also set to launch this fall. Apple has not yet announced pricing for Apple TV+.

Tags: ESPN, Disney, Hulu

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Disney Gains Full Control of Hulu Following Deal With Comcast

Disney has slowly been acquiring a larger stake in Hulu, most recently thanks to its acquisition of certain assets owned by 20th Century Fox. According to Variety, today Disney has "full operational control" of Hulu thanks to a new deal with Comcast.

The deal's terms state that Comcast will retain its 33 percent ownership interest in Hulu through January 2024, after which time either side can demand that the sale of Comcast's Hulu stake go through.


Comcast's NBCUniversal division will continue to license content to Hulu through late 2024. However, the deal includes a few stipulations: as soon as 2020, NBCUniversal will have the right to pull programming that was previously exclusive to Hulu, and by 2022 NBCUniversal will be able to cancel most of its content-licensing agreements with Hulu.

Like most other companies, NBCUniversal has plans to launch its own streaming service within the next few years. The Comcast/Disney deal today includes an arrangement where NBCUniversal will be able to keep its shows on Hulu on a nonexclusive basis (with a reduced licensing fee), while also streaming them on its new service.

As it stands, Hulu today is a platform with content from a wide array of content providers, which upload episodes of TV shows as early as the day after they air on cable. In the past, Disney has said that it plans to keep Hulu as it is and focus its own properties on the Disney+ streaming service. According to CEO Bob Iger, Disney's full ownership of Hulu will create an "even more compelling" service.
“We are now able to completely integrate Hulu into our direct-to-consumer business and leverage the full power of The Walt Disney Company’s brands and creative engines to make the service even more compelling and a greater value for consumers,” Disney chairman/CEO Bob Iger said in a statement about the pact.
For its main streaming service, Disney has announced that Disney+ will launch this November for $6.99 per month. It will include exclusive original series like "The Mandalorian," and various TV shows based on Marvel and Pixar properties.


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Disney CEO Bob Iger Staying on Apple’s Board, Will ‘Continue to Monitor’ Situation

Disney CEO Bob Iger has sat down with CNBC's David Faber to discuss a wide range of topics, including the company's upcoming streaming service Disney+ and how that will impact his position on Apple's board of directors.


Despite the fact that Disney+ will compete with Apple's upcoming TV+ streaming service, Iger said the business of direct-to-consumer television or movies is "still very small" to Apple. At this point, Iger doesn't believe the situation is "problematic," but said it is one he will "continue to monitor."


Transcript via CNBC:
DAVID FABER: The Apple board. It's another thing I just was curious about. Can you stay on that board?

BOB IGER: Well, obviously, when you sit on the board of a publicly traded company, you have to be very mindful or your responsibilities, fiscal responsibilities to the shareholders of that company, and I have been. When the business of direct-to-consumer or television or movies is discussed on the Apple board, I recuse myself from those discussions. There aren't many of them. It's still very small business to Apple. And I'm not at the point where I, you know, I believe it's problematic, but it's something that I have to continue to monitor.
Apple named Iger to its board of directors in 2011 under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook.

Disney+ will feature both new and existing movies and series from Disney and its brands, including Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic. It will also offer series from Fox, including all 30 seasons of The Simpsons.

The service is slated to launch November 12 for $6.99 per month in the United States, with a worldwide rollout in major countries expected by 2021. Disney+ will be accessible on the web, smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, media players like Roku, game consoles like the PS4, and likely the Apple TV.

Apple TV+ will feature original movies and TV shows with well-known directors, producers, and actors such as Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg. The service will be accessible through Apple's TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and the Mac starting in the fall, but Apple has yet to reveal pricing.


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Disney Offers First Look at Upcoming Disney+ App, Launching in November for $6.99 Per Month

Disney today shared a first look at its upcoming Disney+ streaming service, providing new details on how it will work and what features will be included.

The dedicated Disney+ app, which will house Disney+ content, looks rather similar to other streaming television apps, such as Apple's own TV app and Netflix.


The screenshot shared by Disney CEO Bob Iger features a dark interface with individual categories for different Disney franchises, including standard Disney fare, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic, complete with a "Continue Watching" feature and recommendations.

Disney+ content will be available through the Disney+ app on web browsers, smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, and game consoles, essentially everywhere you can watch most streaming services. Deals have already been secured with Roku and Sony for a PS4 version of the app, but there was no mention of the Apple TV.

Individual profiles for each user in the household will be supported, and Disney plans to allow content to be downloaded for offline viewing. Disney will provide TV shows and movies in 4K HDR.

When Apple launches its TV+ service with its original content this fall and Disney launches Disney+, the two companies are set to become serious competitors, as both services will offer up exclusive content unavailable on other platforms.


Disney+ will house existing Disney content, but Disney is also developing new content for the streaming service. Some of the announced TV shows include "Falcon and Winter Soldier" based on the two Avengers characters, "WandaVision" with Wanda Maximoff and The Vision, a TV show based on "Monsters, Inc.," a TV show based on "High School Musical," a Frozen 2 documentary, a Star Wars series, a live-action version of "Lady and the Tramp," two projects featuring Marvel characters Loki and Hawkeye, and much more. All Pixar content will be on Disney+ the first year of launch, as will all Pixar theatrical shorts and all Star Wars films.

Disney may also be planning to offer bundled content, perhaps providing a discount for subscribers who purchase Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, but little detail was provided on Disney's bundling plans.

Disney plans to launch Disney+ on November 12, 2019, and it will be priced at $6.99 per month, which is much lower than other streaming services on the market. Disney is also offering a yearly subscription price of $69.99, which is even cheaper.

With its fall launch, Disney+ will be coming out right around the same time that Apple TV+ launches. Apple hasn't provided a specific launch date, but has said that the new streaming service will come out in the fall.

Tag: Disney

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Disney Completes $71.3 Billion Acquisition of 21st Century Fox

After first confirming its plan to acquire certain parts of 21st Century Fox in December 2017, today The Walt Disney Company has officially closed its $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox (via The Hollywood Reporter). The deal had to go through various regulatory and antitrust reviews, and Disney saw a bit of competition with Comcast for Fox's assets throughout 2018.


Now, Disney owns 20th Century Fox Film and Television studios, the FX stable of networks, National Geographic, and the Fox-related cable and international TV businesses, like India's Star India. The acquisition has also made Disney the majority owner of Hulu thanks to Fox's 30 percent stake in the streaming service, combined with Disney's existing 30 percent stake. Disney is said to also be looking into acquiring WarnerMedia's 10 percent Hulu stake, but will leave the service as it is and focus mainly on its upcoming Disney+ platform instead of altering Hulu.

For Disney+, the company now has a huge back catalog of Fox films and TV shows to bolster its not-yet-released streaming service, and potentially entice more customers to join. It's already been confirmed that Disney+ will host "the entire Disney motion picture library," signaling the end of the Disney Vault in the process and allowing subscribers to stream any Disney film they desire.

There will also be new original TV shows and films based on Disney properties, like The Mandalorian set in the Star Wars universe, and a Marvel show focused on Tom Hiddleston's Loki. Disney plans for the service to be family-friendly and educational, with shows based on Monsters, Inc. and documentaries about Walt Disney Imagineering. This content will now be combined with Disney-owned Fox properties, including films from the X-Men and Avatar franchises, and many more.

The impact of the acquisition is expected to lead to between 4,000 and 10,000 layoffs. What's leftover of the new Fox Corporation will now focus on news and sports in the United States more so than entertainment programming, including the Fox broadcast network, TV stations, the Fox News channels, and Fox Sports, none of which Disney acquired.

Disney's interest in Fox started with its bid to acquire a large portion of Fox's assets for $52.4 billion in stock in late 2017. Comcast entered with its own $65 million cash offer for Fox's assets, leading to Disney's increased $71.3 billion cash and stock bid in June 2018. At the time that it bowed out of the running for Fox, Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts congratulated Disney and its CEO Bob Iger and commended the Murdoch family and Fox "for creating such a desirable and respected company."

With the acquisition, Disney+ is also becoming a big competitor to current and future streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Apple's own TV service, which is set to be unveiled next week. Apple's platform is taking the Disney+ approach, with many original TV shows and films produced by Apple that will be mixed in with purchased content from third parties. We don't know yet how much Apple's service will cost or what shows will be available at launch, but we should get more details in just a few days, as the company's "It's Show Time" event kicks off on Monday, March 25 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

Tags: Disney, Fox

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