Steve Jobs absence, who is Tim Cook
Markus Schreiber/AP
Steve Jobs

Apple CEO Steve Jobs to Take 6-Month Medical Leave

January 14, 2009 05:46 PM
by Anne Szustek
Jobs announced in a companywide e-mail Wednesday that he is taking medical leave through late June. Apple COO Tim Cook will assume oversight of daily operations in the interim.

Jobs’ Condition “More Complex than Originally Thought”

Jobs sent an e-mail to Apple Inc. employees Wednesday announcing his medical leave of absence, saying that his health issues a “more complex than originally thought.”

There had long been speculation over the health of the Apple cofounder, chair and CEO. After surviving pancreatic cancer in 2004, questions reemerged last June when Jobs appeared comparatively gaunt during an Apple company event. Last week, Jobs disclosed that he was suffering from a hormone imbalance that was causing rapid weight loss, although gave few details.

The announcement of Jobs’ leave comes a day before the annual Macworld trade fair, where Jobs had made an appearance every year since 1997. Jobs said last month that he would not be making the keynote speech, and 2009 would be the last year that Apple would take part in the show.

Trading of Apple stock
was halted for a brief period. After the stock was reopened, it was down more than 10 percent during after-hours trading.

Apple COO Tim Cook is to run Apple’s daily operations during Jobs’ absence, however Jobs plans to remain active in major company decisions. Silicon Alley Insider cites a past profile of Cook that ran in Fortune magazine: “Intense workaholic, but cool, calm, and never, ever raises his voice.” Fortune magazine also suggests Cook would be an effective manager, should, say, Jobs ever fall ill.

But, Silicon Alley Insider writes, “Specifically, Cook would bring excellent operational skills to the position. But no single human will be able to replace Steve Jobs,” due in part to Apple stocks’ subsequent loss of the “Steve Jobs premium.”

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