Steve Jobs takes 6 months off from Apple

Steve Jobs sent an email around to let his employees know he was taking a leave of absence. He wrote, "my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought."

I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. 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 addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

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. I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. 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.



  1. Looks like we may soon have a fine opportunity to pick up some more shares of AAPL at bargain prices.

    Eventually, even the duller minds on Wall Street will notice that Apple is actually a huge company that employs large numbers of smart people and has a massive bank-roll, a strong product line and brand recognition that God would envy. Until that happens, the tendency of the share price to nose-dive every time Jobs sneezes, is probably good news for anyone interested in making a longer-term investment.

  2. It is odd but I don’t especially care about his medical issues. It’s none of my business. I also think Apple will do just fine.

  3. The cult of personality is a strong as ever, it seems.
    But Mr. Jobs, like Mr.Gates, is truly a prince among nerds.

  4. @#3
    Let’s just hope that apple does a better job leveraging great products and a strong brand without jobs than it did in the 90s.

    Historically, Apple hasn’t done so well with anyone other than Jobs as CEO. Sometimes the CEOs seem to matter- and this has seemed especially true of Microsoft and Apple.

    I’d love apple to keep up the good work, but I remember the failure of apple after the last time he left too well to just assume that he isn’t going to matter at all.

    I suppose the good news is that microsoft has never really been weaker as a competitor, so apple could afford a few years of mediocrity with the current status quo.

  5. The Guardian reports

    Moments before today’s announcement, trading in Apple’s shares was suspended on the technology-dominated Nasdaq stockmarket.


    So, that open letter he wrote last week, I assume it would be slanderous of me to suggest that he only wrote that to temporarily re-inflate the stock so his friends could cash in?

    Apple stock was sliding on the basis of his ill health, he announces his healthiness and it surges up, they freeze trading and he announces unhealthiness. Nope, not suspicious.

  6. I personally don’t care if Steve Jobs has a cold, a hormone imbalance, or the black plague, as long as he’s taking care of himself.

    But Apple as a company (and Steve Jobs as their Fearless Leader) have to realize that being so cagey and shifty about his health and leaves of absences will just make people panic as they imagine worst-case scenarios… especially as they repeatedly get caught lying about it. Not exactly a confidence-builder.

  7. Borrowing money from my mother to buy Apple stock. I’ll just have to remember to sell it the day before Jobs retires. Heh.

  8. “I suppose the good news is that microsoft has never really been weaker as a competitor, so apple could afford a few years of mediocrity with the current status quo.”

    I disagree. I think this makes it especially bad news. Assuming that Apple isn’t nearly as effective or awesome without Jobs, this is awful timing for Apple because they’re missing an amazing opportunity to launch themselves forward in the market.

    And I don’t buy that it’s only for 6 months. I think once Snow Leopard comes out that will be a high-water mark for Macs.

    I’m-a go cry my eyes out over a beer now.

  9. Let us make some good of this sad situation, and take the time to learn a valuable lesson.

    Steve Jobs learned he had cancer in October of 2003. Instead of following doctor’s orders and getting surgery, he thought he could get better by following a special diet. The only reason he’s even alive today is because he finally did get surgery in in July 2004.

    It is not unlikely that his refusal to trust doctors then, and perhaps even more recently, is a significant factor in his current health woes.

    If you have cancer, or any other medical condition, go to a REAL doctor, and do what they say. Follow the course of action prescribed by science and evidence based medicine. Do not fall for the snake oil of so-called alternative medicine, or other such nonsense. It’s not medicine.

    I don’t care how much you hate insurance companies. I don’t care how much you hate pharmaceutical companies. Your health is more important than that crap. We’ll fix those problems eventually. For now, deal with it, and use real medicine. It’s the only medicine that actually works.

    Steve Jobs, Andy Kaufman, and Coretta Scott King are just some of the famous people who have needlessly suffered, or died, because of adherence to fake medicine. Countless numbers of non-famous people have suffered even more so because they have been fooled by these scams. Don’t be counted among them.

    You don’t have to believe me, though. I’m just some guy on the Internet. Instead, believe these real doctors, these real doctors, and this illusionist.

  10. Does this mean Apple is dropping off the earth forever and I’ll never have to hear about the company or its products again? Oh man, I hope so.

  11. @13 – mind you, some of the alternative stuff has been shown to be effective, to varying degrees. I wouldn’t drop standard medicine entirely in favour of any of them, mind you.

    And mainstream medicine isn’t without it’s perils. There’s a tendancy to downplay side effects, prescribe drugs based on which company has been most effectively bribing the doctors that week, etc.

    The long and the short of it: if you’re seriously ill, don’t trust anyone to make all the decisions for you. Do you own research, and do it seriously. Check and cross-check everything. If somebody says they have a magic bullet, it’s almost certainly aimed at your wallet or your heart.

  12. I am not an investor, but I have owned Apple / Mac computers for 20 years now and I am really afraid that if this crazy person dies, their products will turned into shite. Then what will I use?

  13. @12

    don’t worry about it. if you are a billionaire other people will see it that you get the non plus ultra of medical science whether you like it or not, specialy if you happen to be the CEO of a fortune 500 company and in this specific case a PR asset that can determine share prices.

    the “special diets” and “hormone imbalance” mumbo jumbo is for PR purposes only. i can’t say what purpose they serve but surely noone with a medic background would be ever fooled by the “hormone imbalance” that is “easily treated” shenanigans.

    as a medic i’ve seen such vague comments from terminally ill patients. they ‘ll try to say something in the lines of: nothing serious-chemical/hormonal imbalance-metabolism problems-all under control it will go away-the medics have it under control. such statements are meant to ease the blow for the family.

    the interesting part is that Steve Jobs is treated like a head of state. usually when a head of state is terminally ill all of his stuff will deny the evidence. 3 recent examples: pope John Paul 2nd – Yaser Arafat – Andreas Papandreou (greek prime minister- i’m greek after all). in all 3 examples the state behind them tried to deny the gravity of the situation in order to organize the transition and schemed for the succession while the leader was on for a “short medical leave”. i think that Apple is just trying to buy time for a smooth transition.

  14. Aw crap!

    Well, wish Steve well, pray, chant, send psychic waves, whatever. If Jobs goes, so goes an important era of personal computing.

    Steve Jobs and Apple have created amazing products that have changed the way people use computers and the Internet. And it’s not likely we’ll see the kind of quality and innovation that’s come out of Apple with Jobs at the helm again in our lifetimes.

    Good luck Steve, and get well.

  15. @12

    Just what is real, friend?

    Lobotomies, shock treatment, Hysterectomies, Zoloft?

    Get real yourself, it’s a personal journey anyway

  16. @13, just so we’re clear, you’re hoping Steve Jobs dies so that you can be smug about your hatred of Apple products?

  17. Good luck Steve.

    However, Apple still has a number of good years left in them – with or without him.

    Remember, Steve was run out of Apple the first time only after literally years of infighting and internal power struggles. The man who replaced/ousted him was a long time Pepsi exec who knew no more about the tech sector than I do about retroviral engineering… check that – he probably knew less :o)

    The product war between the Lisa and the Mac was well documented, and the product roadmap was already starting to show some the problems that would plague them later.

    The current situation is much, much different. Steve is firmly in control, his product philosophy – if not his management style – has been validated countless times, and his senior management team is hand picked, and well trained.

  18. @21 (and 14) real medicine is science. it is not perfect, it is full of side effects and it is absolutely not precise (precise as math fr example)and medics are humans so they do mistakes. but as all good science modern medicine learns from its errors, uses the best techology available, and medics are trained profesionals (ask me 15 years of studies…)so it still remains your best chance to survive. there is no “alternative” or “traditional” or whatever you want to call it medicine. if you are sick and you want to live just go to the nearest hospital.

    the fact that medical traditions like the chinese one are old does not make them real. in fact the average chinese lives less than the average european. coincidence or is it that vaccines and antibiotics are better than omeopathy and dragon bone pills?

    i’m all for personal choice so if you are dying of cancer i firmly believe that you should have access to euthanasia or assistance of any kind of your choice. just don’t go around telling people that your choice of snake oil remedy be it diets,omeopathy or some bizzare voodoo traditional medicine gives them a better chance of surviving than chemiotherapy.

    not wanting to endure a harsh medical treatment is one thing. one is free or should be to decide if he wants to take it. promising that a viable and painless alternative exists is a crime.

  19. Fine, I guess I’ll be the one to bring up the elephant in the room. Everyone else who thinks he’s coming back as a woman, raise their hands.

  20. @24

    judging from the adoration of his fans i’d say that he will die only to return after 3 days thus uniting christians, muslims and jews as he will demonstrate that he was/is/will be the true prophet.

    then the iBible ebook drm free and free of charge will be downloaded magically on your jesusphone and it will be the end of times and you will be judged for your sins and by the amount of apple products you own. if you do not own a jesusphone you will automatically be sent to hell so hurry up to buy one.

  21. The man could not bring himself to admit that he is mortal and going to die young of terminal cancer. “Protein imbalance.” Yea, he knew this was a lie, but when you have been told you are a god for so long, reality can be hard to grasp. I have the feeling he does not survive the year.

  22. His length of survival post Whipple’s procedure is already pretty good. I sincerely hope he gets better, but Apple really needs a good succession plan.

  23. He’s a goner. 6 months, max.
    Same with Patrick Swayze. Anytime a big shot gets the big C and they get all skinny and shitty looking, they come out, says “It’s all good, I’m fine” and then die the next day.

    Jim Varney, the dude from that ‘Vegas’ tv show, it’s all just a preamble to the final breath.

    You go on Entertainment Tonight, do an interview, they show some video when you look healthy, then cut away to you now, all gaunt with sunken eyes…

    I remember when Izzy Asper was weeks from dying. Looked all thin and small in his suit..said he was on a diet and lost weight, feeling great! Dead 3 weeks later.

    The end is very near.

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