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January 14 2009

Steve Jobs Takes Leave of Absence From Apple

steve jobs compareIn a not-so-surprising turn of events, Steve Jobs has announced he is taking a leave of absence from Apple through June of this year.

Ever since the iPod event in September 2008, rumors about Steve Jobs’ health have circulated due to how painfully thin he looked.  On January 5th of this year, Mr. Jobs released a letter saying that his weight loss was due to a hormone imbalance.

Today the news has changed slightly, and it is now being reported that Steve Jobs will be taking a leave of absence from his duties as CEO of Apple until June of this year. He lists his reasons as unwanted attention, and new knowledge that his health problems are more complicated then first suspected.

Team,

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.

I can’t think of any other CEO that is more tied to their company than Mr. Jobs.  If you say “Apple”, you immediately think of him.  I don’t think that even Bill Gates of Microsoft was ever tied quite as heavily as Jobs is.

Trading of the Apple stock was halted in after hours trading when the news broke, and has since reopened with a quick decline of over $6 a share.  I find this unfortunate as I am sure Mr. Jobs has left an excellent team in his place while he works on his health.  You can also rest assured that the 2009 product line up has already been locked in at this point, and I think the earliest we might see issues is in 2010, if not even later.  Due to long manufacturing leads, this is almost a certainty.  We also all have to remember that he does not do these products alone, he merely oversees them, it isn’t like he is sitting in a back room crafting the next iPod design of putty himself… wait… he just might, who knows.

I wish Mr. Jobs a speedy recovery, and I would certainly hope that everyone gives him the space he needs to concentrate on his issues.



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  • We don't know to what extent Apple's line-up has been locked in because clearly Steve has been in decline for a long time. It wouldn't be surprising if he's been working in a limited capacity for awhile.

    Apple has a history which quite reasonably sees stock prices diving if Steve isn't around. Steve got kicked out and Apple tanked. Steve came back and Apple thrived. It doesn't matter how good the team he leaves behind is, they are unlikely to have the power or the will to propel a vision for the company. Without vision, Apple loses its bold product presentation and singular reputation. Competence isn't enough. Making a good product isn't enough. You have to have someone at the helm who is constructing products that people don't yet know they're going to want bad enough to pay a premium for. It's not that Steve is a product guru, but rather that he's a narcissist and he's rich. With that comes indifference to failure and confidence in ones choices. That's not something we're likely to see come along in Apple's next leader.

    Personally, I'm glad I don't have Apple stock at this point in time.