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Apple Businesses

Steve Jobs Takes Leave of Absence From Apple 429

Posted by timothy
from the get-well-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Network World: "A number of sites are reporting that Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence till June at least. Speculation over Jobs' possibly failing health has run rampant in the past few weeks. Prior to the recent MacWorld show, Jobs said he had a hormone deficiency that had caused him to dramatically lose weight. In a memo today Jobs told workers his health issues are more complex than he thought." Reader Bastian227 adds a link to this letter from Steve Jobs on Apple's website, which also says that Tim Cook will be responsible for daily operations, though Jobs will remain involved with major strategic decisions.
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Steve Jobs Takes Leave of Absence From Apple

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  • Get well, Steve (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rayban (13436) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @05:55PM (#26457231) Homepage

    Love 'em or hate 'em, he's changed a lot in the tech sector. His presence will be missed.

  • Sell quick (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @05:57PM (#26457253)

    the market says "sell sell sell!"
    watching the stock price collapse is almost funny if it wasnt so sad
    .

  • Rest well deserved (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @05:58PM (#26457267)

    He's busted his hump over the last few years. He deserves some time off to focus on himself and his family.

  • Re:Sell quick (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:00PM (#26457303) Journal

    the market says "sell sell sell!"

    Makes me glad I'm long Apple put options. Ahh, schadenfreude.

  • Re:Sell quick (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:02PM (#26457345)
    Yeah, well adversity does help things along - reading the millionaire next door, people who had to work for their success did much better than those who didn't. Of course, Bill Gates and Paul Allen went to the Lakeside School, so there you go.
  • Re:June... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:04PM (#26457375) Journal

    On a different note, this is a sad day for those owning AAPL shares - expect them to plunge even further than they have over the past year.

    Well, if you didn't see this coming a mile off, you probably shouldn't be in the market at all.

  • Re:Hmm. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:07PM (#26457429)
    And I'll BUY BUY BUY tomorrow... do you seriously think anything has fundamentally changed in Apple's business? It still remains to be seen.
  • by gustar (125316) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:08PM (#26457441)

    Even with the prospect of Jobs having of an extended absence from the day-to-day at Apple I think we will see the company continue to do fine, or at least continue on their existing business path.

    While leadership is a key element of business success, so is having a well balanced team of professionals driving your development/innovation teams.

    I have to image Apple has this balance in their organization.

  • Re:LOL, No... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rayban (13436) * on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:08PM (#26457443) Homepage

    He still built up a ton of excitement around all of the Apple products. MP3 players were drab and virtually useless before the iPod - a few years later everyone had one.

    Apple products have influenced design across the hardware and software landscape (for the better IMHO).

    Without the iPhone, there just wouldn't be any exciting phones out right now. It changed the playing field and helped bring us the G1 and Palm Pre.

  • by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:16PM (#26457621) Homepage

    I wish him well. As someone who had to retire at age 33 to fight cancer, I know how discouraging it is to have your body spoil what your brain wants to do. But I also found that giving up the full-time job really did improve my health and led to greater productivity in my remaining activities.

  • by cuby (832037) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:17PM (#26457643)
    He was already missed before even leaving, as recent speculation testifies.
  • Re:Sell quick (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unitron (5733) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:18PM (#26457667) Homepage Journal

    If you spent "x" buying Apple at $50 you should have sold half of it when it hit $100. Then you would have still had "x" dollars worth of Apple and "x" dollars with which to diversify into other stocks. Even after Apple's share price takes a big hit tomorrow, it'll probably still be above $50.

  • Re:Hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:21PM (#26457697) Journal

    do you seriously think anything has fundamentally changed in Apple's business?

    Stock price doesn't have anything to do with the actual fundamentals of a company, only how those fundamentals are perceived. Like it or not, Job's absence may have an effect on stock price, even if the company is run exactly the same as it would have, were he still at the helm. Perception is reality; at least in the market.

  • by Ohio Calvinist (895750) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:22PM (#26457723)
    Seems like a good idea for Steve to take some time. It gives him a chance to see how well Cook handles the shop when no major new products are shipping and seems to indicate that he is at least semi-comfortable that he's got the right management to oversee day-to-day operations, and gives them a chance to fine-tune anything should he want to retire or passes away pre-maturely. As die-hard as he is, I can't imagine him doing the keynotes if he is too frail (physically) to "wow" the crowd.

    Since the major aesthetic overhall in the iMac, MBP and MB lines in the past year or two, and OS X 10.6 shaping up to be a smaller update (aesthetically and technically) to 10.5 than the 10.4->10.5 jump was; it doesn't appear that there is going to be much "new business" from now to then. Maybe some hardware line updates to faster chips, and some 10.5.x updates; but nothing major. I'd imagine 10.6 won't even ship until summer [wikipedia.org]; just in time for the WWDC in June.
  • What's changed? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <<DesScorp> <at> <Gmail.com>> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:28PM (#26457845) Homepage Journal

    And I'll BUY BUY BUY tomorrow... do you seriously think anything has fundamentally changed in Apple's business? It still remains to be seen.

    Well, yeah, something fundamental has changed. Steve Jobs won't be there. Look at Apple's history. That makes all the difference in the world.

    When the guy does die... whenever that is... it's going to be earth shattering in the tech sector, and you'll never see anything like it in this business again. Jobs is the Elvis of the computing business. When he goes, you'll see people weeping on TV. Silly or not, that's the way it will be. And the endless speculation for months (and years) will be "Can Apple survive without Steve Jobs?".

  • Cancer sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by groovyPost (1452085) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:30PM (#26457877) Homepage
    I'll bet there will be no returning for Jobs. Sad news but a lesson to all. A company should never be about "A" person. None of us are eternal.
  • Re:What's changed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jalefkowit (101585) <jasonNO@SPAMjasonlefkowitz.net> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:36PM (#26457981) Homepage

    Steve Jobs won't be there. Look at Apple's history. That makes all the difference in the world.

    Jobs has had more than a decade with which to root out the nonperformers at Apple and replace them with performers. Performers can carry on in the boss' absence. Nonperformers cannot.

    If over all that time he did nothing to replace the people who couldn't run Apple with people who could, he's not as good a CEO as we all thought.

  • Re:Cancer sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jalefkowit (101585) <jasonNO@SPAMjasonlefkowitz.net> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:43PM (#26458063) Homepage

    A company should never be about "A" person. None of us are eternal.

    Story goes that Charles de Gaulle [wikipedia.org], who was often referred to as France's "indispensable man" due to his huge influence in setting that nation's course after the Nazi conquest, was asked what he thought of that title.

    His response: "The graveyards are full of indispensable men."

  • by GuloGulo (959533) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:56PM (#26458269)

    On a different note, this is a sad day for those owning AAPL shares - expect them to plunge even further than they have over the past year.

    No.

    If the company is sound, this will be a short term drop follwed by a recovery. If you own shares, and think AAPL is sound without Jobs, then selling makes no sense. Instead, you should be buying the discounted shares in anticipation of a recovery, which is what strong companies do.

    On the other hand, if you think AAPL is not strong without Jobs, then WTF were you doing buying AAPL in the first place?

    In short, you are making the same mistake all amateurs make.

    And no, I'm not a pro, but this point has been emphasized enough, and proven accurate enough, that I take it as correct.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @06:58PM (#26458285)
    Of course, you have to buy for him to be able to sell. Someone a lot smarter than you will buy from you later after Steve dies and the stock loses 9/10 of it's (nominal) value, but only if it looks like there's leadership that can allow the company continue for long enough for investors to realize they overestimated Steve's role in the company. Say 2 years from now?

    Rich people think about the day after tomorrow. Now is not a good time to buy. This stock has nowhere to go but down until at least a few months after Steve is no longer with us. Even then, it will only be worth something if they pull off a successful transition.
  • by Arthur B. (806360) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:02PM (#26458339)

    Also AAPL is good to own in a recession.

    Imagine the total demand for computers shrink 10%.
    If you're Dell, you car a lot.
    If you're Apple, you can still double your sales, you simply grow in market share.

  • Re:Sell quick (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:08PM (#26458429)

    What is gained too lightly is esteemed too little. its an old saw but very true.

  • Re:LOL, No... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:17PM (#26458571)

    Absolute poppycock.

    "Drab and useless"...I sure hope you're not actually referring to your iPod as a fashion accessory...

    My Creative Zen 30GB (many years old) is still, to this day, absolutely useful as an mp3 player.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:31PM (#26458747)

    Even healthy living can kill you I guess.

    Eat more bacon, you won't live long. but at least you can have some bacon.

  • by wish bot (265150) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:44PM (#26458909)

    Steve may be a mirco-managing megalomanic, but he also has some REALLY good people working at Apple who don't receive wider recognition (much).

    For all we know, all those annoying things about Apple (eg - lack of headless iMac, lack of Firewire on Macbooks, crappy iLife feature refreshes...) might go away with Steve's absence too.

    Those guys working under Steve might be getting their chance to shine.

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:48PM (#26458963) Journal
    apple computers are more luxury items then PCs. in todays economy unless you are completely screwed you really do need to have an internet connection and a computer. a cheap PC will win out every time if someone is watching their budget.
  • Re:Hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:49PM (#26458981)

    It does in the long term. Yeah, if you're day trading you care a lot about the latest Steve-news. If you're investing then you care much more about those actual fundamentals of the company.

  • Re:June... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:50PM (#26458993) Journal

    I don't think so.

    Don't count Apple out just because Jobs is gone. He isn't the ONLY person working at Apple and he certainly isn't the once and future designer.

    Sure they might not do as well but they still have Ipods, Itunes, Imacs and a lot of Fanboys and Girls.

    And say what you will Apple does make some good, if expensive hardware and software.

    Jobs may be more than just a figurehead but he is hardly all the company has going for it.

  • Re:Sell quick (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:53PM (#26459041)

    What is gained too lightly is esteemed too little. its an old saw but very true.

    Or the corollary - "What is gained at great expense is valued too highly."
    Which is the reason frats haze pledges.

  • Re:June... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bdbolton (830677) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @07:58PM (#26459111) Journal
    On a different note, this is a sad day for those owning AAPL shares - expect them to plunge even further than they have over the past year.

    Ohh and I don't know it might also be a sad day for his family. Let's get some perspective here. He has serious health issues and people seem to care more about the stock prices.
  • by arminw (717974) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:27PM (#26459467)

    ...In difficult financial times the value isn't there for most people....

    Apple isn't targeting their products at people in dire financial straits, but to people who still have money. They have never sold stuff to the bottom end of the market, especially commodity items such as computers. That is why they are doing better than the other PC makers. Also, more and more people are beginning to understand that the purchase price of a computer is only a relatively small part of the total cost over the life of one. Having to dork with Windows, buy anti-malware software and being stuck with an 8 year old OS is certainly not lost on people. A smart marketing message by Apple, taking advantage of the MS VISTA debacle is also part of the equation. A Mac OS10.5 Leopard OS runs acceptably well on our old G4 Mac Mini. Getting VISTA to run on PC of equivalent age & specs is an exercise in frustration if the older software even works at all.

    That old G4, connected to a 47" LCD TV makes a fine, networked media device for movies and music.

    In the car business, Honda is an example. Their cars generally cost more to buy, but they also sell for a lot more used than some Ford or Chevy. This true of used Macs as well. Check that out on ebay if you wish.

  • Re:June... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:30PM (#26459503) Journal

    No shit, but to what degree was this priced in already?

    I think the market had already priced in about 80% of this news. Unless there is other, unforeseen fallout from this announcement, we're pretty close to where the stock should be. For the last year it has been a question of "when", not "if". Actually, this may be the the jump-start the stock needs; big money has been reluctant to invest in Apple until the uncertainty of Job's condition is cleared up. He should have done this six months ago.

  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @08:58PM (#26459827) Journal

    Hope you beat it, or already have. Had to watch my uncle waste away. Good luck to you and your family.

  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:48PM (#26460381) Homepage

    This is true, but intriguingly, Apple also sells iPhones and iPod Touches, which many people can use as substitute computers. A friend of mine got iPod Touch for his birthday and pecks out his documents with the Notes application and emails them around, instead of using a computer.

    iPhones are cheaper than any computers, even netbooks, and are not significantly different in price from other smartphones.

    Apple has a pretty big iPhone developer community now, and they are compensated pretty well through the App Store. What do those nice folks who made $100,000 do with their well-deserved gains? Buy 17" MacBook Pros, of course. Tax deductible and all that. And as lovely as a well-designed sports car, just a lot cheaper.

    The one huge advantage Apple has is that people love their products, so they will scrimp and save and suffer to buy them. For this reason, I expect them to gain market share, especially in tough times. The enthusiasts still buy, while the pragmatists stop buying. Thus, the total market shrinks but Apple's market share is likely to increase.

    D

  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @09:52PM (#26460423) Homepage

    If we think about the team here, Jony Ive can design the computers, Phil Schiller can market them and Tim Cook can make sure the financials come out all right.

    I think we will all miss Steve but Apple itself will do just fine.

    I wish Steve joy in relaxation - he has had one of the busiest lives I could ever think of - and a speedy recovery and return to the helm.

    D

  • by daveime (1253762) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:29PM (#26460725)

    You can gold-plate a turd, but it's still turd.

    iPhones are cheaper than any computers

    My Nokia E90 is a hell of a lot cheaper than an iPhone, and it's a damn sight closer to a computer. Can the iPod connect in SSH2 to a server on the other side of the world ? Damn, until the 2nd edition, the iPhone had trouble even making a phone call. It should have been called the iNoPhone.

    It's shiny crap for Starbucks wannabes, and let's face it, if you're prepared to pay 10 bucks for a frothy coffee, then you'll buy ANYTHING.

  • Re:LOL, No... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:45PM (#26460867)

    Bullshit, before the iphone was a twinkle in Steve's eye we had Palm and WindowsMobile doing a lot of things you cant do today with an iphone. Tethering, copy and paste, downloading any app you like, *gasp* running software you wrote, choosing whatever wireless company you want to go with, outlook syncing, voip, etc.

    Useless mp3 players? Perhaps useless as a fashion accessory, but I had an mp3 player before the ipod was even released. Worked fine, thanks for asking.

  • Re:LOL, No... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @10:47PM (#26460903)

    >Of course that is all it is but they are selling like hot-cakes

    Yes we must all judge things by popularity. Good idea! The best phone: the iphone. The best artistic endeavor in human history: the reality show. The best food: McDonalds. The best country: india.

    I think you can see where Im going with this.

  • by Retric (704075) on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:03PM (#26461061)

    Can the iPod connect in SSH2 to a server on the other side of the world ?

    Yes. You can SSH from the iPod touch. There are SSH clients for the iPhone for ~3$ in the app store. You can also SSH to the iPhone / iPod, but that's a separate issue.

  • by Meski (774546) <meski.oz@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @11:40PM (#26461423)

    I don't suppose his frequent use of off-list pharmaceuticals and other fun-seeking drugs during his youth would have had anything to do with his poor health. While 60 isn't old, it seems like a lot of people his age who "lived too hard" are now suffering the consequences through odd early/uneven aging, hormonal issues, cancer, auto-immune diseases, and other odd things we've not seen before.

    Always pisses me off when people use the argument of "'blah' diseases that we've never seen before" - all we've done is improved diagnostics so we can tell "what" is killing you, and in some cases, "why" you got it.

  • by daveime (1253762) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @02:04AM (#26462477)

    There are SSH clients for the Nokia, that are .. get this ... FREE.

    A previous poster extolled the benefit that iPhone has an "AppStore" ... I can't see how paying through the nose for software for a device you already paid through the nose for is a "benefit".

    Still enjoy your lock in. You deserve it.

  • Re:LOL, No... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday January 15, 2009 @02:49AM (#26462747) Homepage
    My first mp3 player, which is still kicking around in drawer or a closeted box, was a Creative Nomad II MG [amazon.com]. $250 for 64 mb and $100 for a 128 mb mmc card -- $350 total. For that, I got a player with controls that were so awkwardly placed on the sides that even after a year of steady use, I had to actually look at it to change songs -- it was ridiculously easy to delete songs instead of skip them. The screen was extra small too.

    Several years later I picked up a refurbed ipod for half the price with 15 gb of storage and controls I could use without looking at them. I recently got an 80 gb model, refurb, for half the price of my Creative, and the controls are even better than my old 15 gb model -- as long as I'm not searching through my library, I can control it "eyes-free" effortlessly and without thinking about it. Now, I'm sure most players don't have controls as dreadful as my Creative, but the fact the ipod is easy to use is not some kind of reality distortion event. The ipod is objectively better designed because I can adjust the volume and skip songs without looking at it. With the Nomad, anytime you pressed a button without looking I risked random outcomes up to and including song deletion. Reality distortion would be thinking that the Nomad was better than an ipod.
  • Re:LOL, No... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @04:38AM (#26463243)

    "MP3 players were drab and virtually useless before the iPod - a few years later everyone had one."

    I've never understood why people make comments like this. The iPod was a step backwards in terms of features and such, I'm not even convinced iTunes is any easier to use than the icon I could just drag and drop my MP3s into in Windows either. The iPod was actually quite a late arrival in the MP3 market, many forget that MP3s were already becoming somewhat mainstream (we already had support in some car sound systems for example). It's certainly fair to credit the iPod as the product that took the mainstream, but not necessarily the product that acted as a catalyst for mainstream- the fact you could store thousands of tracks in the space of half a portable CD player and not need to carry media around was already a good enough catalyst. People would've bought players regardless, but it was the style and prestige factor of the iPod that got it most of those sales, as well of course as it being in the right place at the right time- arriving just as the MP3 market was already taking off.

    I don't disagree that Jobs and his marketing team were excellent at creating hype and shifting units, but I'm still not convinced it's because the products are necessarily ground breaking, or even that high quality (battery problems, easily scratched screens etc.?).

    Apple under Steve has been good at what designer clothes companies are good at, building a brand that people want because they feel it gives them that extra bit of prestige. People will take Armani jeans over some bog standard jeans if they have the opportunity, the bog standard ones may even wear better and be more durable, but for many, the name matters most.

    I agree with you more on the iPhone though, certainly it seems to have pushed other companies into gear in some respects, but I think it's worked both ways in a way. Apple came along with a phone with not too many features but with a really nice looking UI and a much more tightly integrated experience. This has pushed other companies to follow, but on the same note, Apple has been pushed to follow the likes of Nokia with 3G, GPS and so on also when it became clear the iPhone was losing customers because of lack of said features so it has been a two way street. The underlying point though is that yes, without Apple, existing phone manufacturers wouldn't have had that much needed push.

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