Steve Jobs Steps Down on Medical Leave Until June, Share Trading Halted [Update]

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In a stunning move, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced late on Wednesday that he was stepping down as CEO on medical leave until the end of June of this year. Apple COO Tim Cook is set to take over day-to-day operations in the interim. Trading in shares of AAPL were immediately halted.

In a letter to employees, Mr. Jobs said that his health was continuing to be a distraction to both Steve and his family, as well as Apple employees.

"In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health," he told employees, "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."

He also added that he would remain involved in key decisions during his leave of absence.

The full text of that letter:

Team,

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.

Steve

In the meanwhile, CNBC's Jim Goldman cited anonymous tech executives in Silicon Valley who said that Mr. Jobs was in "a state of denial" about his health, and that he had been so for some time. It should be noted that he offered no specifics on who this person was, or how he would know such information.

Shares ended the day at US$85.33, a loss of $2.38 (-2.71%), on moderately light volume of 29.7 million shares trading hands. After hours trading in the stock was halted immediately on the news of Mr. Jobs' stepping down.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.  

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Comments

xmattingly

Oh. Shit.

We can only hope that Jobs is able to overcome his health problems.

grshaner

Actually, if apple can intro some new winning stuff while Steve is getting better (Best Wishes, Steve!), that would go a long way toward showing Apple can survive in the (inevitable) post-Jobs era.

bgarlock

Here we go.  When trading does open back up for AAPL, how low do you think it will go?  Maybe I’ll finally be able to get in on a low price.  I feel comfortable with Jonathan Ive’s making design decisions.

“Quick! Someone engineer some more buttons on the iPhone, before Steve gets back!”

Dave Hamilton

Trading has re-opened.  See our related coverage http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/trading_in_apple_stock_resume_aapl_down_7.1/

Bryan Chaffin

Agreed, grshaner.  That said, anything released between now and June would have been in the works for a while, and thus not proof of much.

But, how the company handles such a rollout could well be received well.

Bryan
Editor
TMO

xmattingly

@Chaffin & grshaner:

I think what happens between now & June (assuming Jobs does actually return) would definitely bring some goodwill toward Apple. Obviously, long-term product developments will be the true test.

It’s a given that Apple has a lot of visionaries other than Jobs. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to believe that he’s responsible for every single success story there, and if you look at the names behind patent applications, there really aren’t that many that are under S. Jobs. So I think Apple does need to make the case that they have a very good visionary-in-the-wings, who is capable of saying “no” to a hundred ideas that aren’t ready for market, and “yes” to the few that makes their brand so valuable.

I think Apple can survive without public perception of their biz focused around a single person, but they definitely need to maintain tight focus of what they bring to market.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

The market will treat this as if Steve Jobs is done with Apple. Investors are going to punish the company for dragging its feet on disclosing a situation that in retrospect was pretty obvious. I see AAPL bottoming out at $50 and perhaps climbing back to $80 in the summer if two of three following things happen: (1) Q1 and Q2 numbers are good in a dire economy, (2) Steve Jobs comes back and is trotted out before July, (3) product rollouts are regular and show strong market leadership.

Apple’s response all along should have been to add public faces alongside Jobs so that whenever his roll needed to diminish for whatever reason, there would only be concern for him and not for the company. Bad day to be an AAPL shareholder. Bad day to be an Apple fan. Great day for authors of business books.

estern53

I am sad I knew this day was coming and my heart goes out Steve and his family. Ever since I read he had pancreatic cancer i knew his days were numbered. I have good feeling Apple will still progress and prosper, there are so many brilliant minds there and i feel Apple has been getting ready for this day for some time. All we can hope for is the best. Steve gave us quite a ride.

seanieryan

why does everyone think that steve is the ONLY one who dreams up new products/features, as though its a company with 5 muppet employees and only one visionary leader.

Admittedly , he is excellent as the leader, but come on, its not like the without him, nothing gets done. He cant be the only one who comes up with all the new ideas !!!! Reality please.

That said, best of luck Steve and hope you are well soon and back at the helm.

xmattingly

seanieryan said:

why does everyone think that steve is the ONLY one who dreams up new products/features

Apparently, you don’t bother to read the other posts before you write.

rpaege

Geez estern53, Jobs isn’t dead yet and he’s only taking a leave of absence for 6 months.  Don’t right him off completely.

estern53

I am just realist. The handwritings on the wall about his life span. Just Google pancreatic cancer and the whipple procedure that he had.

“patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer typically have a poor prognosis partly because the cancer usually causes no symptoms early on, leading to locally advanced or metastatic disease at time of diagnosis. Median survival from diagnosis is around 3 to 6 months; 5-year survival is less than 5%. With 37,170 cases diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and 33,700 deaths, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates of all cancers and is the fourth highest cancer killer in the United States among both men and women. Although it accounts for only 2.5% of new cases, pancreatic cancer is responsible for 6% of cancer deaths each year”

Bearur

Just because stocks go up or down has no direct connection on the quality of Apple products or their business policy.  I am confident that Steve Jobs has built a strong business and hiring plan that will serve the company and their customers way into the future.  This is certainly not a time to panic but rather, send our prayers to Mr. Jobs and his family as he takes care of a very personal and difficult challenge.

estern53

I am Apple Reseller and warranty repair center. I make my living by selling and repairing Apple Computers. So the changes the company is going through directly affect my livelihood. I think Steve is one of the most brilliant marketing people to come along in a long time. Steve has brought Apple back to life and I really sweated out the bad years in the 90s.
I just get tired of all the people putting their head in sand over this. If I am proved wrong then you can bash me all you want, but I don’t see an alternate to what this all means.

WetcoastBob

Quote of the day:

“If there was an announcement tomorrow that Jobs is being replaced by God, the stock price would still go down.”
—Marshall Goldsmith (an executive coach who teaches at Dartmouth University. )


From the Associated Press.

iJack

There are a couple of real vultures posting here, today.

deasys

@ estern53: “Just Google pancreatic cancer and the whipple procedure that he had”

I’ll do that if you google relevant news reports from August 2004. When you do, you’ll discover that Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer—an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor—that has a very different prognosis from the common form.

Sheesh…

estern53

“The natural history of islet cell and carcinoic tumors tends to be favorable as compared with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. For example, the median survival duration from the time of diagnosis for patients with non-functioning metastatic islet cell tumors approaches five years”

Steve was diagnosed 4 years ago.
well i guess we will know for sure with in 6 months how healthy he really is…

Joe Nocera's Ghost

I wonder if someone will apologize to the “Slime Bucket” who was pretty darn right.

dahlenu

I find it believable that Steve has been in denial about this. I hope he concentrates on getting well now.

ctopher

We’re all not dead YET. Live life like there may not be a tomorrow! It’s a great way to live life, but a lousy way to invest! smile

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