News

Steve Jobs takes leave of absence, cites 'health issues'

Apple CEO says health concerns are 'more complex than I originally thought'

Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced Wednesday that he will take a leave of absence until the end of June because of health concerns.

Jobs recently attributed recent weight loss to a treatable "hormone imbalance," but an e-mail announcement to all Apple employees suggested the problem could be more serious.

"During the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought," Jobs said in the e-mail, addressed simply to "Team."

Jobs, a Palo Alto resident who co-founded Apple in 1976, is universally recognized as the public face of the Cupertino-based company. He announced his leave in a succinct e-mail.

"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," Jobs wrote.

Speculation about Jobs' health has been rampant over the past year, fueled by his weight loss and his decision not to attend last week's Macworld convention. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003 and had surgery to remove the tumor in 2004.

Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, will take over day-to-day operations, Jobs wrote. Cook had led the company while Jobs was undergoing surgery in 2004.

Jobs said he plans to remain involved in "major strategic decisions" while he is on leave.

Apple's shares fell by $2.38, or 2.71 percent, Wednesday and were listed at $85.33 at the end of regular-hours trading day.

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Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Warren
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 14, 2009 at 4:06 pm

The speculation is not specifically about Steve's health, but about his ability to lead his company. Apple stock price dropped by $8 when the news came out today (in after hours trading), and that is on top of a $10 drop in the stock price since the latest round of health speculation started earlier this month. Let's face it, big business can be very cruel to the individual.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I look on Steve as a neighbor and member of our Palo Alto community even though I do not know him. Best wishes to Steve and his family and understand that any public scrutiny of his illness can only distress his family even more than the illness itself.


Like this comment
Posted by too bad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2009 at 7:44 pm

As a relative of someone who died with islet cell pancreatic cancer, it's sad that Steve and his family have to go through this ordeal. The mean time survival window for someone with the kind of cancer that Steve had, is five years. He's coming up on his five year anniversary. No reputable oncologist would state that a patient has been cured of cancer the way Steve has.

It's understandable that shareholders would be concerned if something forced Steve away from the helm of Apple. He is Apple. Otherwise, why else would he have taken such a visible role. Unfortunately, he's having to deal with events that as much as he hates them, are beyond his control, but yet, very pertinent to how investors and the Apple public at large perceive them.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2009 at 8:11 pm



He is coming up close to the 5 year survival limit.

I have sympathy for his family.

As an investor in Apple I am very concerned about Jobs prevarication about his health status 4 years ago and about his attempt to minimize the seriousness of his status a few weeks ago.

For better or worse, Jobs is Apple and business is business, we need honesty and transparency in publicly owned firm in a timely manner.


Like this comment
Posted by Apple investor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 15, 2009 at 1:09 am

I'm an Apple stockholder and I find all of this public speculation and prying in extremely bad taste. Can't you figure out what is probably going on without being spoon fed the information? Does everything have to be explicit? Don't you have any insight at all?
We need a little more common sense and decency on the part of the observers.


Like this comment
Posted by danny the homeless guy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2009 at 5:26 am

Some years ago before his illness I ran into him a couple times at Whole Foods and Country Sun - he was a friendly and kindly person who smiled at me.

If his problem now is that cancer, I hope somebody somewhere like him will be able to pirate a successful nanotech experiment to save his life.

Posted from my ibook.


Like this comment
Posted by YouShouldKnow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

Please don't do this. Don't stamp an expiration date on this man! I know a lot of people are just 'thinking out loud', but hey, Steve Jobs isn't just a well known person, he is a father, husband, friend, neighbor and a member of this community. This is a local blog. He can read these comments, as can his family members. How would YOU feel reading this if the person suffering ill health was a family member or yourself? Just wish the man well and save the business speculating for a more appropriate time and space. I swear it's times like this I'm grateful to have nothing. Money makes people crazy, makes them lose sight of the human aspect. If you have to think about stock and the future of Apple, try this: before you count your losses, think about all the money you've made from this mans vision and count your blessings! Meanwhile, please focus on your health Mr. Jobs, I hope you triumph!


Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2009 at 2:42 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Warren
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 15, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Steve Jobs did retire from Apple once. The company floundered without him. Steve came back and made Apple one of the most popular brand names in America. A lot of people on Wall Street think that the company does revolve around him. Can you name one other senior executive at Apple?


Like this comment
Posted by YouShouldKnow
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 15, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Apple is his baby, excuse the hell out of him if he cares about it and still wishes to be involved.. Maybe too, he needs to keep working because it's helpful and adds to his peace of mind. Keeps him busy and not dwelling on his mortality as so many of you apparently are.


Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm

So I got censored again. When I said something about mortality, I wasn't talking about anything near-term. I have no idea of what Job's health situation is. All I meant was, why is he still going to work on Monday morning when he doesn't have to? I guess that's one reason why he's a billionare listed in the encyclopedia and I'm not. Man, this is by far the most sensitive forum I've ever posted to.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I was listening to an interview of Ringo Starr recently. He was asked why he still worked when he didn't need to. His answer was that it was what he did. He said that other people got up and went to work every day and that was the same reason why he continues to work. He couldn't imagine not getting up in the morning and going to work. He said that if he stopped getting up in the morning and going to work, he would probably soon be dead.

There are some people who really enjoy their work so much that they don't think that giving up work is something they want to aspire to. Many people do retire and are dead within a couple of years because the daily grind isn't there to keep them going.


Like this comment
Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 16, 2009 at 1:12 am

Nora Charles is a registered user.

My prayers and good thoughts to him for a swift and complete recovery.


Like this comment
Posted by TwoSides
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm

With all the juvenile postings on the other news story about Angelo Henry, I wish that this publication could see the difference between those postings, which SHOULD be censored, and these postings, which are dialog.


Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 16, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Jim,

You were probably censored because we like to give our hometown hero some respect.

I've read the stories about working for him but our encounters with him during Halloween have been super pleasant. He seems to enjoy kids a lot.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2009 at 9:07 pm

It is what it is, Apple will have to find a way to survive without Jobs, look at the dramatic decline in i pod sale reported in the WSJ, the computer division has fallen behind also.

It is time for a new and vigorous leadership, even the i phone has been trumpet by Blackberry, the king is dead, long live the king is what they say in the investor community.


Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Woodside
on Jan 17, 2009 at 9:43 am

As far as 21st century Apple products go, I don't get into the hype. Dealing with itunes is a PITA and takes way too much time. I like my ipod, but the volume dial thingy sucks and again itunes is a POS and stuffs crappy music with a handfull of good songs on it. Apple computers are flashy and cool, but I'm too fiscally conservative to spend extra money on a disposable product like a computer.

Otherwise, I think Steve Jobs is one of the better CEO's out there. Possibly one of the only CEO's to live up to their pay hype. He doesn't sit in a back corner somewhere while the company tanks as he has some interest in the growth and sustainability of the company.

Get another CEO for Apple and watch the place sink like a rock.


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