Iger has to iGo
2019-03-31 12:13:07

This is an open letter to Apple Shareholders, Tim Cook and the Apple board. It's time for Bob Iger to be shown the door. Once the doors slams behind him, the rest of the board (and shareholders) need to make sure that what are essentially corporate spies do not grace the boardroom of Apple ever again.

We regret that this is now the second time that an Apple board member has suddenly developed a competing product at their day job. The first time was with Eric Schmidt and Google's sudden foray into the smartphone market. Because the first thing that anyone thinks when Google is mentioned is cellular, right? We believe Schmidt took what he saw as a good idea, one that Google could make money at, and went with it.

Google bought Android in 2005. Schmidt joined the Apple board in August 2006. Apple announced the iPhone in January 2007. Google announced their first Android product in 2008. Schmidt left Apple in August 2009. Draw your own conclusions. Ours is that Schmidt saw the iPhone development when he joined the Apple board and suddenly saw a good use for Android that he took back to Google engineers.

We don't know how much Schmidt knew of iPhone production and just when he started taking himself out of iPhone conversations that the board was having, but given that just a few years later he wanted to make sure that there was not paper trail involving a "no cold call" list and what turned into the High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation. He just reeks of honesty, doesn't he? To be fair, Apple's own Steve Jobs was also involved, but we don't like speaking ill of the deceased.

Second fox in the hen house

In our opinion, Iger only got his seat at the table as a tit-for-tat. Iger oversaw the Disney purchase of Pixar in 2006. That made Steve Jobs, the single largest Disney stockholder. As such, Steve was given a seat at the Disney table. After Steve's death, Tim responded by giving Iger a seat at Apple's table in 2011. This was a bad idea from the start. Even in 2011, Apple should have seen the streaming market for video content coming. They should have realized that having Iger on the board could only have one good outcome and several bad ones.

Disney had already acquired Marvel Entertainment two years earlier and had its own large vault of content from Disney (and all the film studios owned under the mouse house), ABC, ESPN etc. The only good outcome would have been getting Disney on board to offer their content through Apple services. We admit, this had a 50/50 (at best) chance of succeeding since Disney had been one of the first to offer programs within iTunes and for the AppleTV. But Disney was much larger now. They were no longer the small fish or even a regular sized fish; they were now in the whale territory. Whales only do things for themselves and if they think that they can make £1 more by doing it on their own, they will. Fish need other people to help them, whales don't. In 2011, Disney was a whale.

Disney's newly announced streaming service is a direct competitor to Apple's own Apple TV+ service that was also recently announced. Quelle surprise. Disney's service is even called Disney+. Wonder where they got the idea for the name from? Just how long was Iger learning about Apple TV+ while he knew his own company was developing a streaming product? When did he inform the other board members of Disney's plans? How much has he learned over the years of Apple's products and software that he could take back to Disney? We don't know, nor is anyone being very forthcoming about answers.

What we do know is that twice now an Apple board member has been involved in creating competing products. That's twice too many times. Are you listening Tim et al? Better yet, are you learning from your mistakes? We think not, since it happened again.

The best that we could hope for would have been Iger stepping down as soon as Disney announced its streaming service, but did he? No. Instead he's almost doubled-down and insisted that he recused himself from all board discussions concerning Apple TV+. Right… and that's why both services are called 'Plus'. Yup, recused himself. Uh, huh, tell us another one Bob. In an interview with CNBC, Bob had this to say of Apple's upcoming service, it's a "very small business to Apple". Of his continued board membership, adding that "… it’s something that I have to continue to monitor". That's whale speak.

No Bob, you need to iGo, iNow.

We ask and implore all current Apple shareholders to let Iger and the board both know that he needs to leave, NOW. The Apple board also needs to be made aware that if there is a third time, they are all out.

[UPDATE] 10 Sept 2019 Iger has iGone.