Jobs's Drive Put Apple, Investors at Risk

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is credited with turning around the company after his return in 1997 thanks to his drive, determination and focus. Those same traits, however, could have led to disaster in 2004 when he initially refused treatment for pancreatic cancer, according to Fortune.

Sources close to Mr. Jobs claim that after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2003, he chose not to pursue surgery because of his skepticism of mainstream medical science. Instead, he employed alternative treatment methods -- including a special diet -- for nine months before agreeing to undergo surgery to remove the tumor.

One unnamed source close to Mr. Jobs commented "It was very traumatic for all of us. We all really care about Steve, and it was a serious risk for the company as well."

Had Mr. Jobs died prior to his successful surgery, Apple could have found itself in turmoil without the focus and vision its CEO brings to the table. Without its high profile leader, the companyis stock could have taken a beating, and investor and analyst trust could have taken a hit, too, since those close to Mr. Jobs kept his illness secret.

In the end, however, Mr. Jobs elected for surgery, and appears to have fully recovered -- something many pancreatic cancer patients canit claim. Following his surgery on July 31, 2004, Mr. Jobs finally made his illness public in a letter to employees, and continued on without any other comment on the incident.

That, too, is part of Mr. Jobsis drive and control philosophy. While it has helped turn around the company and bring new-found success, it could also backfire at some point, leaving unhappy customers and investors in its wake.