Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs is seriously ill and has stepped down from his CEO duties until at least June.
In a typically terse Steve Jobs email, the Apple honcho turned over leadership of the company to Tim Cook. If you thought the rumors about Jobs’ health were bad over the past year, watch the news for the next few weeks.
Over the past few years we have pointed out a number of times that Steve Jobs looked frail, worn, eerily ill at times. Many Mac pundits came to similar conclusions, and Jobs recent behavior did not help the matter.
Late last year Jobs announced that he would not give the keynote address at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, handing the responsibilities to VP Phil Schiller, who, in my estimation did a decent job, considering the material was rather thin.
Jobs also publicly acknowledged that he was suffering from a problem which caused him to lose weight, the matter was under control, and said he would be fine in a few months.
Apparently, not so. Steve Jobs, according to all reports, even his own report, is seriously ill—so serious that he plans to take a break from his responsibilities at Apple for nearly six months.
Here is a copy of the email message that Steve Jobs sent to Apple’s “team” employees:
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.
Two things are apparent. The first is that Steve is seriously ill, though the exact cause of the illness and the prognosis have not been made public.
The second is that Apple will probably continue just fine under the leadership of COO Tim Cook and VP Phil Schiller, though Apple’s stock is likely to become more of a bargain over the next few weeks.
It’s my opinion that Steve is doing the right thing, and that Apple’s executive team will continue implementing plans and moving the company forward. Steve Jobs will be missed.
Barring a very serious illness which would prevent him from returning to Apple—ever—this may be a good time to see how well the company operates without the co-founder at the helm.
We wish Steve Jobs all the best.