Apple has informed a number of press outlets that CEO Steve Jobs has returned to work on schedule after his six month medical leave of absence (see “Steve Jobs Takes Medical Leave Until June,” 2009-01-14). According to spokesperson Katie Cotton, for the time being he will work several days a week at Apple’s Cupertino campus, and from his home office the remaining days. Apple’s COO Tim Cook has been handling day-to-day operations in Jobs’s absence.
Jobs’s medical leave was, according to him, necessary to deal with an unspecified hormone imbalance that left him physically gaunt. More recently, it has come to light that he received a liver transplant at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute of Memphis, Tennessee. With Jobs’s permission, the hospital announced that the procedure had taken place, though they did not specify when it occurred.
We at TidBITS, though happy to see Jobs make a timely and hopefully healthy return to Apple, remain distressed at the incessant nattering over his health. 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. In that time, Apple posted the company’s best non-holiday-quarter revenue and earnings ever, shipped the iPhone 3GS and iPhone OS 3.0 plus significant updates to the entire Mac line, and saw its stock rise from under $80 per share to more than $140 per share. Those are not the actions of a company struggling with the absence of a charismatic leader.