Apple's Steve Jobs to take 'leave of absence,' cites health issues
Tim Cook will fill in while he's out; Jobs plans June return
Computerworld - Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced today that he is taking a "leave of absence" from his job because of health problems, an announcement almost certain to raise new questions about his overall health.
In an e-mail today sent to all Apple employees, Jobs said that "during the past week, I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought." The announcement was made after the close of financial markets in the U.S. (Analysts later said Apple's operations aren't likely to be affected if Jobs returns in June as planned.)
"I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community," Jobs continued in his message. "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 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."
Jobs, 53, said Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will be in charge of day-to-day operations. "I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job," Jobs said. "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."
Today's announcement comes a month after Apple announced that Jobs would not deliver his signature keynote address the Macworld Expo & Conference. Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for marketing, took his place at the event last week to unveil updated applications and a new 17-in MacBook Pro.
Jobs' health has been a matter of concern for some Wall Street analysts and a topic of discussion among Apple users and investors for months. The speculation began last June, when Jobs appeared gaunt at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, and it was fueled by talk that he might again be seriously ill. In 2004, Jobs announced that he had had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his pancreas.
Last July, Jobs told The New York Times that he was cancer-free, and he joked about the concerns during the MacBook rollout. Between the two, however, a false report that Jobs had suffered a massive heart attack shoved Apple's stock down by 11% in early October, demonstrating Wall Street's worries about Jobs and how his absence might impact the company.
According to the Wall Street Journal, trading of the company's shares was briefly halted in after-hours trading.
Last week, just before the Macworld Expo got under way, Jobs released a statement in which he said a hormonal imbalance had caused the weight loss that had fueled speculation he was seriously ill. He is currently undergoing treatment.
In a rare open letter to the Apple community, Jobs acknowledged his weight loss, but said his doctors believed, and tests had confirmed, that a "hormone imbalance has been 'robbing' me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy."
Apple has come under criticism from several quarters since Jobs' health again became a matter of concern to investors in June, with most talk centered around the possibility that he again had cancer. After Jobs' appearance, Apple officials pegged his weight loss to a "common bug" he had contracted.
Some analysts found that explanation hard to believe and made repeated calls on Apple to come clean about the health of its CEO. Those concerns prompted Jobs to speak with the New York Times.
Computerworld's Seth Weintraub weighs in on Jobs' announcement.
Jobs health woes
- Eric Lundquist: The next five steps for Apple's Tim Cook and Yahoo's Carol Bartz
- Seth Weintraub: Steve Jobs out until June, Tim Cook to take over Apple operations again
- Apple's Steve Jobs to take 'leave of absence,' cites health issues
- Even without Steve Jobs, Apple 'can clearly execute,' says analyst
- Jobs may have Type 1-like diabetes, says expert
- Jobs blames 'hormone imbalance' for weight loss
Read more about Management in Computerworld's Management Topic Center.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- ERP in the Cloud and the Modern Business View IDC's White Paper, to review IDC CloudTrack Survey findings, gain expert insight into the challenges and opportunities the cloud presents, and determine...
- Study: Total Economic Impact of Google Apps Employees can work faster and IT spending can decrease when companies switch to Google Apps, says a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting. Going...
- Protecting Digitalized Assets in Healthcare Healthcare providers face an urgent, internal battle every day: security and compliance versus productivity and service. For most healthcare organizations, the fight is...
- Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing...
- Video surveillance for IT: maximum image quality, minimum bandwidth Join us on Thursday, May 8th at 1 p.m. EST when Willem Ryan, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Avigilon, will discuss how IT... All Management White Papers | Webcasts