He has gone from dead to having cancer to suffering from hormone problems in the space of a few short weeks, now the Apple CEO is taking six months off work to recover. So just how sick is Steve Jobs?
Last year the mention of the word cancer in the same breath as 'Steve Jobs' was enough to send Apple shares into freefall. Stories circulated that he was planning to quit Apple and there were even reports that he had died. No wonder, as Apple grabs record market share for the Mac OS the rapidly thinning Apple CEO has been, rather belatedly, trying to fire-fight the ill health rumour machine.
Just last week Jobs published a long and open letter in which he revealed the problem to be his hormones. Jobs stated quite clearly that "...my doctors think they have found the cause—a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis." He also quite clearly stated the treatment plan: "The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I’ve already begun treatment. But, just like I didn’t lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple’s CEO during my recovery."
The Apple community breathed a sigh of relief, as did those with a financial stake in the company. If all was well with Steve Jobs, then all is well with Apple. Apart from it wasn't and isn't.
Now we have another missive from Jobs, which would appear to backtrack on the earlier 'all is rosy in the health garden' statement. Now Steve Jobs says that his health-related issues are "more complex than I originally thought." I guess complex could be a code-word for serious, especially seeing as Jobs go on to reveal that instead of continuing as the Apple CEO during his recovery as stated just a week ago, he will now "take a medical leave of absence until the end of June."
That is possibly worth a double-take: the Apple CEO is going on sick leave, standing down from his position, for a six month period. This for something which we should not worry about, a "relatively simple and straightforward" so Jobs had us believe last week "nutritional problem." Yeah right, I am afraid that far from helping to settle the uncertainty surrounding the health of the Apple CEO all this PR disaster has managed to do is throw a bloody huge spanner in the works.
Already there are reports circulating that Jobs has cancer, that he needs his pancreas removed, that he is dying. How this latest announcement impacts upon share price over the coming week will remain to be seen, but one thing is for sure: if Jobs is not back on the job, looking healthier, in the Summer then Apple could face one hell of a rocky ride on the markets.
Here are those two letters from Steve Jobs in full.
January 5, 2009
Letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Dear Apple Community,
For the first time in a decade, I’m getting to spend the holiday season with my family, rather than intensely preparing for a Macworld keynote.
Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the Macworld keynote set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed.
I’ve decided to share something very personal with the Apple community so that we can all relax and enjoy the show tomorrow.
As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority.
Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause—a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.
The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I’ve already begun treatment. But, just like I didn’t lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple’s CEO during my recovery.
I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years now. I will be the first one to step up and tell our Board of Directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple’s CEO. I hope the Apple community will support me in my recovery and know that I will always put what is best for Apple first.
So now I’ve said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this.
January 14, 2009
"I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.
"In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.
"I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple's day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.
"I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.