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Steve Jobs to Take Medical Leave of Absence

Apple has released a media advisory containing an email message sent by Steve Jobs to all Apple employees, announcing that the board of directors has granted him a medical leave of absence so he can “focus on his health.” No time frame is given, apart from Jobs saying he hopes “to be back as soon as I can.”

Jobs is retaining his CEO position, and will be involved in major strategic decisions for the company, but COO Tim Cook will once again take over the reins for Apple’s day-to-day operations. Cook handled Apple’s operations for two months in 2004, while Jobs was recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery (see “Steve Jobs Undergoes Cancer Surgery,” 2 August 2004), and again for six months in 2009, while Jobs was having a liver transplant related to complications from the pancreatic cancer (see “Steve Jobs Takes Medical Leave Until June,” 14 January 2009, and “Apple: Jobs Back on the Job,” 30 June 2009).

By all accounts, Cook did a good job during those previous stints, and there’s every reason to believe he and the rest of Apple’s executive team will continue to move the company forward. As I wrote back in June 2009, “While there’s no question that Jobs brings vision and marketing savvy to Apple, the company’s performance over the last six months shows that he is by no means indispensable.”

Jobs ends his email message with, “In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.” In keeping with that request, we won’t be speculating on Jobs’s health problems or attempting to divine what might be wrong. Anyone who has suffered pancreatic cancer and undergone a liver transplant is obviously not in the best of health, and running the second-most valuable company in the world cannot help but be taxing.

Our best wishes to Jobs for a quick return to health.


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Comments about Steve Jobs to Take Medical Leave of Absence
(Comments are closed.)

Tommy Weir  2011-01-17 07:21
No doubt the rumor mill will spin again despite the steady hand of Cook, and a buying opportunity for APPL will result most likely.

I presume, like any cancer patient, there'll be a regular series of checks and scans to be done.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-01-17 07:43
Yeah, it's depressing and borderline morbid. All I can say is that we won't be playing those games unless it somehow boils over into becoming actual news.
candy bowen  2011-01-17 13:34
Thank You for letting us know. I (and I am sure, a lot of others) will certainly be Praying for the Lord to heal and restore Steve. Sending nothing but thoughts of life and health his way.
Kara Harkins  2011-01-17 16:11
Good approach for you to take. Yes, I am guessing the share price will dip (disclaimer: I have shares and will hold them) but it is almost like people think Steve and the board would not have prepared for scenarios like this a long time ago. They should instead be focusing their energies on his recovery and not playing gossipmongers and day traders.
Perfect tone on this, Adam. I was actually hoping to read something that would give me a sense of what to think regarding Apple and you not only did that but did it while also giving a template for the appropriate attitude and tone to take. Very nice. Thanks
LCPGUY  2011-01-19 00:42
May the Lord be with you Steve. And don't forget, you've got zillions of people praying for you.