Steve Jobs should step down as CEO and quit from Apple. It would be the best thing he could do for himself and the company.
The mentally challenged tech press, pundits and analysts covering Apple are going to give him and Apple no peace. Most every single article regarding the company and its CEO, from here on out, will harp on, allude to, and/or call into question his health, his likelihood of not returning, and potential unclean hands on the part of Apple and its board.
There will be impassioned pleas that Mr. Jobs "owes" something to the shareholders. That he must open the kimono on his health records. That, really, Jobs is in his death throws. That he's in denial. That his cancer is back. That he lied. That he knew he was sick. That Apple knew. That the board knew. They'll ignore the plain words he uses "during the past week I have learned..." It will be a constant stream of conjectures about that, this, and the other doom-and-gloom things, adding injury to insult.
All with the obnoxiously ostensible purpose of "informing the people," or "disseminating" the "information" that users and stockholders "need." In reality, it's just a pack of hyenas and vultures that want to convert this "information dissemination" into a piranha-like feeding frenzy of clicks to their tech-paparazzi tabloid coverage, which is justified with smug and obnoxious told-you-so righteousness.
They all will ask if Apple and Mr. Jobs mishandled this, yet they will never shine that same critical light on themselves much less accept any blame or responsibility. After all, they are mere conduits and vessels of the information, by golly, of the truth! Of the truth they decided that we so desperately have a need and right to know. We have technology press and analysts that, with few exceptions, are such a miserable scab-picking group of dung eaters that the odds of them ever laying off or doing the right thing asymptotically approaches zero. There is no self-control, self-restraint, genuine sympathy or selflessness.
So, although Jobs hopes that taking a medical leave will take the focus off of his health and allow Apple to concentrate on what it does best, that's likely to fail. While taking leave from Apple (something he so clearly loves) for everyone else's benefit, frankly, is astoundingly selfless, sadly it's likely in vain. His note, more likely, just gifted the press 6 months of "death watch" coverage on both Apple and him.
They'll keep hounding them, too. They'll keep writing stories or offering analysis that will keep the focus off of what Apple does and help pound the stock into the ground, and with the SEC so clearly asleep at the switch, those that wish to game the stock, they have at least 6 months of leaking "information" to wreak plenty more havoc. Those vultures will feed on Apple's secrecy and Mr. Jobs's privacy, living off the innuendos and fear mongering. Week after week. Month after month.
So he should quit. The standard PR of “quitting to spend more time with his family” is plenty of justification. The stock likely will tank for a couple of days (instead of months), but it will level out.
After that, the press really will have no right to snoop or know about the health of private citizen Steve Jobs. And since he would no longer be at Apple, it takes away the stock gamers’ ability to use his health to manipulate the stock. Also, Apple avoids any further liability issues with regard to choices Steve makes about his health and privacy.Attention can return to “what will Apple come out with now?” Eventually, and whenever the heck he wants, Steve Jobs can come back. We all know that and welcome it.
In the mean time, while the rest of the Apple team continues to perform just great, it will give the world greater confidence in Apple's abilities. It will make the "Apple without Jobs" issue moot.
I just wonder if anyone has the guts to suggest it to Steve. He deserves a real break and has my sincere well wishes.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a share in AAPL stock that most certainly was an influence in the creation of this article.