Rumors and Speculation About SJ’s Health

  • Posted: 31 December 2008 10:41 AM

    Everyone:

    We’ve all read or heard the latest rumors and gossip about SJ’s health. Good health or poor health, it doesn’t matter. The gossip and rumor-mongering reveal the dank underbelly of amateurish Web journalism. While it’s obvious these rumors have an impact on the trading of AAPL shares (however brief the impact), there’s no reason to illicitly support or condone the actions of those who choose to seek personal gain or notoriety through the propagation of rumors about SJ’s health.

    It’s hard to understand how anyone would actively participate in the proliferation of these stories. I consider these gossip reports to be obscene in nature and destructive in intent.

    Thank you to everyone in the AFB for continuing to keep discussions about the rumors limited to the brief impact on the trading of AAPL shares. I’m personally making note of the sites that are reporting these rumors as pseudo-fact and choosing not to visit them again and will avoid doing business with any enterprise that actively and knowingly sponsors those sites.

    [ Edited: 03 January 2009 06:57 PM by DawnTreader ]      
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    Posted: 31 December 2008 10:47 AM #1

    DawnTreader - 31 December 2008 02:41 PM

    Everyone:

    We’ve all read or heard the latest rumors and gossip about SJ’s health. Good health or poor health, it doesn’t matter. The gossip and rumor-mongering reveal the dank underbelly of amateurish Web journalism. While it’s obvious these rumors have an impact on the trading of AAPL shares (however brief the impact), there’s no reason to illicitly support or condone the actions of those who choose to seek personal gain or notoriety through the propagation of rumors about SJ’s health.

    It’s hard to understand how anyone would actively participate in the proliferation of these stories. I consider these gossip reports to be obscene in nature and destructive in intent.

    Thank you to everyone in the AFB for continuing to keep discussions about the rumors limited to the brief impact on the trading of AAPL shares. I’m personally making note of the sites that are reporting these rumors as pseudo-fact and choosing not to visit them again and will avoid doing business with any enterprise that actively and knowingly sponsors those sites.

    That’s really swell that you want to boycott every rumor mongering site but until the issue is satisfactorily addressed and further rumor mongering can’t knock three billion out of AAPL market cap in the space of three minutes on the open market, I will continue to say what I please on the issue.

    Three billion in three minutes.

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    Black Swan Counter: 9 (Banks need money, Jobs needs a break, Geithner has no plan, Cuomo’s grandstanding, .Gov needs a hobby, GS works for money, flash crash, is that bubbling crude?).

    For those who look, a flash allows one to see farther.

         
  • Posted: 31 December 2008 11:05 AM #2

    I see far more at risk than mere money. I’d rather be poor than give credence to smut.

         
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    Posted: 31 December 2008 11:17 AM #3

    Eric Landstrom - 31 December 2008 02:47 PM

    That’s really swell that you want to boycott every rumor mongering site but until the issue is satisfactorily addressed. . .

    I’m unclear how this issue can ever be fully and adequately addressed until SJ leaves the company. Or until SJ is no longer seen as being synonymous with Apple. Until such time, all of the refutals and denials will do nothing to assuage those who wish to report unconfirmed rumors and the soon-to-follow AAPL price swing. 

    And Apple responding to every rumor is analogous to the parent responding to the proverbial “Are we there yet?” :wink:

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    “Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America’s problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God.”  ?Norman Vincent Peale

         
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    Posted: 31 December 2008 11:18 AM #4

    I want to be an Apple investor, not a trader.  But yesterday’s Jobs-health rumour (to which I succumbed for the first time) reminds me that Steve’s retirement is probably good for at least 20 or 30 per cent of AAPL share price.  I do have confidence in the team Steve has put together over the years, but this is a matter of Street perception, not Silicon Valley reality, and, as we have learnt all too painfully this year, the Street will do as it pleases regardless of Apple’s fundamentals.

    I would of course prefer Steve to remain healthy and head of Apple for as long as possible, or at least long enough for AAPL to recover to late 2007 prices.  :winksanta:  But I feel uneasy about the possibility of the long-term rally being substantially undermined, both by constant rumour sapping and by an actual health emergency / sudden retirement.  Which makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be better for us if Steve retires at some point during the doldrums of 2009, whilst the share price is still depressed (and before I build up my long-term positions :innocent: ).

    Other than the possible collapse of the world economy, Steve’s health is to my mind the only factor that would prevent AAPL from regaining at least $150 (if not Andy Zaky levels).  Unfortunately I feel prospects for Steve’s health are less certain than the global economy.

    Edited: as to the issue of coverage, clearly rumours affect AAPL share price, so it behooves us to be aware of the rumours.  On the other hand, the transmission of specious reports furthers the damage (and perhaps the agenda of nefarious manipulators).

    I feel angry with Gizmodo in a way I did not during previous health panics.  Obviously one factor is that I actually gave in to this panic and sold some shares for a loss.  But the Gizmodo report is a bit different than, say, a random ‘citizen-reporter’ posting completely bogus news on CNN, or Bloomberg accidentally publishing a prepackaged obit.  Gizmodo isn’t a proper journalism site, but it is a major tech blog, and their report (at least the original version) is strongly worded.  Either Gizmodo’s writer and editors trust in the credibility of their source, or they were irresponsible hacks.  I’d like to believe Gizmodo was overly credulous but not consciously negligent.  There’s a fine line here, I know, but I really don’t think Gizmodo is in the same business as its stable-mates (eg Gawker), which frankly feed on ressentiment and envy.

    [ Edited: 31 December 2008 11:31 AM by Winterpool ]

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  • Posted: 31 December 2008 11:20 AM #5

    Eric Landstrom - 31 December 2008 02:47 PM

    That’s really swell that you want to boycott every rumor mongering site but until the issue is satisfactorily addressed and further rumor mongering can’t knock three billion out of AAPL market cap in the space of three minutes on the open market, I will continue to say what I please on the issue.

    Three billion in three minutes.

    You can say whatever you please as I expect your bottom line is nothing but $‘s.  No one realistically expects you to boycott any rumor mongering site. 
    But there’s a half full vs. half empty viewpoints.
    If I recall correctly yesterday, upon realization of the rumor, you sold, and indicated somewhat that others should also.

    You then referred it to Jim Goldman, who shortly wrote against the rumor.

    You expected the report to be false all along so why couldn’t you take the half full road and expand your aapl position, and exhort others to follow.

    As long as rules remain constant, rumor site and these sort of rumors will continue as $‘s, greed, and individuals follow ‘em.

    Can I be wrong in concluding that these rumor site and rumors are aimed exactly at traders such as you?

         
  • Posted: 31 December 2008 11:30 AM #6

    DawnTreader - 31 December 2008 02:41 PM

    Everyone:

    We’ve all read or heard the latest rumors and gossip about SJ’s health. Good health or poor health, it doesn’t matter. The gossip and rumor-mongering reveal the dank underbelly of amateurish Web journalism. While it’s obvious these rumors have an impact on the trading of AAPL shares (however brief the impact), there’s no reason to illicitly support or condone the actions of those who choose to seek personal gain or notoriety through the propagation of rumors about SJ’s health.

    It’s hard to understand how anyone would actively participate in the proliferation of these stories. I consider these gossip reports to be obscene in nature and destructive in intent.

    Thank you to everyone in the AFB for continuing to keep discussions about the rumors limited to the brief impact on the trading of AAPL shares. I’m personally making note of the sites that are reporting these rumors as pseudo-fact and choosing not to visit them again and will avoid doing business with any enterprise that actively and knowingly sponsors those sites.


    I personally find Apple’s treatment of this issue to be awkward at best. Even though it’s none of my business, and even though chances are SJ is okay (even if he’s not 100% healthy), and even though it doesn’t really matter to Apple’s fundamentals—Apple’s way of side-stepping this issue helps to feed the speculation.

    I would have liked for them to say: Steve Jobs is the CEO of Apple, period. Should he ever be unable to perform his duties, a new CEO will be appointed and Steve will be phased out and due notice will be given to shareholders and media people. All stock-manipulating rumor-mongers will be dealt with in courts of law, if need be. End of story.

         
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    Posted: 31 December 2008 11:42 AM #7

    Play Ultimate - 31 December 2008 03:17 PM
    Eric Landstrom - 31 December 2008 02:47 PM

    That’s really swell that you want to boycott every rumor mongering site but until the issue is satisfactorily addressed. . .

    I’m unclear how this issue can ever be fully and adequately addressed until SJ leaves the company. Or until SJ is no longer seen as being synonymous with Apple. Until such time, all of the refutals and denials will do nothing to assuage those who wish to report unconfirmed rumors and the soon-to-follow AAPL price swing. 

    And Apple responding to every rumor is analogous to the parent responding to the proverbial “Are we there yet?” :wink:

    I view the issue this way:

    Apple is attempting to unravel the Steve Jobs cult of personality the BoD had embraced in years past when the cult of personality had more upside than downside. To unwind the cult of personality and bring this goal to fruition, Mr. Jobs must take a step back while others on the management team step up. Meanwhile Apple is also deleveraging itself from Macworld because the MacWorld deadlines have become more of a liability than an asset when faced by an ever-broadening line of products that increasingly require more and more man-hours to further develop. These goals have created an atmosphere where rumor mongering can thrive. Apple understands that unraveling the personality cult, whenever it is done can or will be painful but likely understands it is best to do it when Steve is in good health and can pop up if things grow dire.

    The underlying fear harbored on the street isn’t that rumors will impact shareholder value because given time, market efficiency will find the correct value. Rather, the underlying fear of the street is that Apple is moving the goal posts and redefining the role of the CEO so that Jobs can fulfill the role of CEO from a deathbed or a couch or something. In other words, to address the issue, all Apple really needs to further say in addition to the existing comments is that the job description of Apple Inc. CEO remains the same and that Mr. Jobs is not pairing back his responsibilities because of health concerns, complications, or personal desires. In my mind, if Apple offered the further clarification that the role of CEO has not changed would settle the issue to my satisfaction and I would be ready to backstop the stock anytime a health rumor moved it down.

    [ Edited: 31 December 2008 11:45 AM by Eric Landstrom ]

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    Black Swan Counter: 9 (Banks need money, Jobs needs a break, Geithner has no plan, Cuomo’s grandstanding, .Gov needs a hobby, GS works for money, flash crash, is that bubbling crude?).

    For those who look, a flash allows one to see farther.

         
  • Posted: 31 December 2008 11:47 AM #8

    Paradoxically, the only thing that will make these rumors less of a problem, is the continuing proliferation of them. I get the feeling that even though automatic selling still happens, and longer-term fear-induced effects persist (after all, we went from 95 to 85 basically because of them) there are more and more people who react faster under the assumption that the rumor is just the usual stupid rumor.

    And it gets more and more absurd...  grin

         
  • Posted: 31 December 2008 11:49 AM #9

    Winterpool - 31 December 2008 03:18 PM

    I want to be an Apple investor, not a trader.

    I would of course prefer Steve to remain healthy and head of Apple for as long as possible, or at least long enough for AAPL to recover to late 2007 prices.
    Which makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be better for us if Steve retires at some point during the doldrums of 2009, whilst the share price is still depressed (and before I build up my long-term positions.

    So…would it be safe to say you feel conflicted on this issue?  wink

    My point yesterday (which seems to have been missed) was that rumors only impact minute by minute trading.  Eric’s been right about the direction this markets been moving for quite some time even though people like myself don’t understand why AAPL has taken the hit.  Props should go to his foresight on that issue but I still question a strategy that can get knocked on its can when a site like Gizmodo files a report like they did.  Sooner or later it won’t be a rumor of course.  Today? Tomorrow?  Five years from now?  No one knows!  Many have said that Steve’s retirement or death would command a 20 percent reduction in the price of the stock?  Do they pull this percentage out of their keester?  Of course they do because there are too many other unknown at any one time variables.  But…if you’re truly an investor in the company I’m guessing you’re there for more than just the presence of Steve.  The business built around OSX is going to be generating cash far into the future imho.  We’re all surrounded by stories of cutbacks, restructuring and a new found focus managing costs.  Great I say but why in the hell should I invest in companies that aren’t continually paying attention to their cost structure.  Not for me thankyou very much.  Nope!  Give me the Apples of the world who plan to innovate their way into the future.

    One last thing.  I support Erics determination to go on saying what he will…as should we all.

    [ Edited: 31 December 2008 11:54 AM by BillH ]

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    Posted: 31 December 2008 11:56 AM #10

    Eric Landstrom - 31 December 2008 03:42 PM

    The underlying fear harbored on the street isn’t that rumors will impact shareholder value because given time, market efficiency will find the correct value. Rather, the underlying fear of the street is that Apple is moving the goal posts and redefining the role of the CEO so that Jobs can fulfill the role of CEO from a deathbed or a couch or something.

    Eric, that seems rather subtle for the Street?  Perhaps that’s a long-term worry, one of many, depressing AAPL’s share price below where it should be, even in a recession, but doesn’t it seem when these rumours hit, that the pure panic is based on Steve the star CEO, the saviour of Apple and the technology consumer?  When that star burns out, we shall all be cast in to the outer darkness…  :devil:  If anything, I shouldn’t be surprised if the Street (and many Apple fanatics) would prefer Steve to be maintained as a figurehead as long as possible, even in a state of living death.

    I agree that any sane Apple board must try to demythologise Steve, to untangle their prospects from his person.

    It’s not Eric’s responsibility, of course, to beef up our chicken livers, but I can admit that if Eric had advocated a strong defence of the share price yesterday, I might very well have held my shares.  I do take Eric’s opinion that seriously, and I was wavering owing to several time-critical factors.  Now, I still think the critical factor in my sell decision was my mother’s nagging me to get out of the house and in the car, so clearly my decision-making wasn’t very rational that afternoon.  :dunce:

    Edited: Bill, to me the problem is that when Steve does retire, unless it’s been managed very gracefully, over time, the share price will essentially be reset by 20+ per cent.  As I suspect the recovery will be slow and painful (for the economy and to some extent for AAPL), I’d prefer to avoid having to redo three or four months of recovery.  I do believe in Apple, with or without Steve, but I don’t want the Street unjustly bloodletting an AAPL recovery.

    [ Edited: 31 December 2008 12:00 PM by Winterpool ]

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    Ah, love, let us be true to one another! for the world… hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain

         
  • Posted: 31 December 2008 11:58 AM #11

    lulli - 31 December 2008 03:47 PM

    Paradoxically, the only thing that will make these rumors less of a problem, is the continuing proliferation of them. I get the feeling that even though automatic selling still happens, and longer-term fear-induced effects persist (after all, we went from 95 to 85 basically because of them) there are more and more people who react faster under the assumption that the rumor is just the usual stupid rumor.

    And it gets more and more absurd...  grin

    I can imagine Steve sitting in his office at this very moment, having a good laugh over this nonsense. For a person with such an inflated ego it must be extremely flattering for him to have so many people speculating on his health, as if he were the pope or something.

         
  • Posted: 31 December 2008 12:07 PM #12

    Eric Landstrom - 31 December 2008 03:42 PM

    I view the issue this way:

    Apple is attempting to unravel the Steve Jobs cult of personality the BoD had embraced in years past when the cult of personality had more upside than downside. To unwind the cult of personality and bring this goal to fruition, Mr. Jobs must take a step back while others on the management team step up. Meanwhile Apple is also deleveraging itself from Macworld because the MacWorld deadlines have become more of a liability than an asset when faced by an ever-broadening line of products that increasingly require more and more man-hours to further develop. These goals have created an atmosphere where rumor mongering can thrive. Apple understands that unraveling the personality cult, whenever it is done can or will be painful but likely understands it is best to do it when Steve is in good health and can pop up if things grow dire.

    The underlying fear harbored on the street isn’t that rumors will impact shareholder value because given time, market efficiency will find the correct value. Rather, the underlying fear of the street is that Apple is moving the goal posts and redefining the role of the CEO so that Jobs can fulfill the role of CEO from a deathbed or a couch or something. In other words, to address the issue, all Apple really needs to further say in addition to the existing comments is that the job description of Apple Inc. CEO remains the same and that Mr. Jobs is not pairing back his responsibilities because of health concerns, complications, or personal desires. In my mind, if Apple offered the further clarification that the role of CEO has not changed would settle the issue to my satisfaction and I would be ready to backstop the stock anytime a health rumor moved it down.

    Eric, I agree with much of what you say. Inevitably the company must move beyond the cult of personality aspect of the Steve attraction. I don’t think though even if Apple responded officially to the rumors to say SJ’s health was fine it would stop the rumor-mongering. Beyond the fact real dollars are at stake, there’s a macabre aspect to these rumors that won’t die no matter the statements Apple or SJ himself might make.

    I see silence as the best approach. While silence might not calm the jitters of some traders, responding yet again to rumors will do little to put the matter to rest.

         
  • Posted: 31 December 2008 12:12 PM #13

    Well nrabinov…I think he wished he never got sick in the first place.

         
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    Posted: 31 December 2008 12:13 PM #14

    Eric Landstrom - 31 December 2008 03:42 PM

    I view the issue this way:

    (comments omitted for brevity)

    We agree.  :wink:

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    Posted: 31 December 2008 12:24 PM #15

    DawnTreader - 31 December 2008 04:07 PM
    Eric Landstrom - 31 December 2008 03:42 PM

    I view the issue this way:

    Apple is attempting to unravel the Steve Jobs cult of personality the BoD had embraced in years past when the cult of personality had more upside than downside. To unwind the cult of personality and bring this goal to fruition, Mr. Jobs must take a step back while others on the management team step up. Meanwhile Apple is also deleveraging itself from Macworld because the MacWorld deadlines have become more of a liability than an asset when faced by an ever-broadening line of products that increasingly require more and more man-hours to further develop. These goals have created an atmosphere where rumor mongering can thrive. Apple understands that unraveling the personality cult, whenever it is done can or will be painful but likely understands it is best to do it when Steve is in good health and can pop up if things grow dire.

    The underlying fear harbored on the street isn’t that rumors will impact shareholder value because given time, market efficiency will find the correct value. Rather, the underlying fear of the street is that Apple is moving the goal posts and redefining the role of the CEO so that Jobs can fulfill the role of CEO from a deathbed or a couch or something. In other words, to address the issue, all Apple really needs to further say in addition to the existing comments is that the job description of Apple Inc. CEO remains the same and that Mr. Jobs is not pairing back his responsibilities because of health concerns, complications, or personal desires. In my mind, if Apple offered the further clarification that the role of CEO has not changed would settle the issue to my satisfaction and I would be ready to backstop the stock anytime a health rumor moved it down.

    Eric, I agree with much of what you say. Inevitably the company must move beyond the cult of personality aspect of the Steve attraction. I don’t think though even if Apple responded officially to the rumors to say SJ’s health was fine it would stop the rumor-mongering. Beyond the fact real dollars are at stake, there’s a macabre aspect to these rumors that won’t die no matter the statements Apple or SJ himself might make.

    I see silence as the best approach. While silence might not calm the jitters of some traders, responding yet again to rumors will do little to put the matter to rest.

    I respect your opinion, however, the rumors cumulatively work like the lie said long enough and further silence doesn’t address the cumulative effect that rumor mongering is having upon the stock. As such, I’m more inclined to activism. To that end, I fired an email off to Goldman suggesting that if Apple addressed my concern that the goal posts are not being redefined so that Mr. Jobs can continue to fulfill the role of CEO, Apple will have at last addressed the street’s concerns on the issue and would be able to tolerate Apple’s reluctance to continually address the issue of Mr. Jobs health every time some yahoo brought it up. I further suggest that if anybody has a line into any Apple spokespeople, that they share this concern so that Apple can be put to rest the health issue in the best way possible without making public Mr. Jobs’ health records.

    [ Edited: 31 December 2008 12:27 PM by Eric Landstrom ]

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    Black Swan Counter: 9 (Banks need money, Jobs needs a break, Geithner has no plan, Cuomo’s grandstanding, .Gov needs a hobby, GS works for money, flash crash, is that bubbling crude?).

    For those who look, a flash allows one to see farther.