By Pat Farnack

SEATTLE (AP / WCBS 880 / CBS 2) – Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs is taking his second medical leave of absence in two years, raising serious questions about his health and the leadership of a company at the forefront of a personal computing revolution.

WCBS 880’s Pat Farnack with CBS News and CNET’ technical analyst Larry Magid

Apple did not provide any further information about Jobs’ current condition, including whether Jobs is acutely ill, whether the leave is related to his 2009 liver transplant or whether he is at home or in a hospital.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling referred to the text of Jobs’ note to employees, which was made public Monday.

In the note, Jobs, 55, said he will continue as CEO and be involved in major decisions. As has been the case during past illnesses, Jobs said chief operating officer Tim Cook to be responsible for all day-to-day operations.

“I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” Jobs wrote. “In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”

U.S. stock markets were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Apple’s shares plunged 6.4 percent in trading Frankfurt to 243.50 euros ($323.73).

Apple has a history of extreme secrecy when it comes to the iconic CEO’s health, disclosing major illnesses only after the fact.

The company waited until after Jobs underwent surgery in 2004 to treat a very rare form of pancreatic cancer – an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor – before alerting investors. That type of cancer can be cured if diagnosed early, unlike the deadlier and more common adenocarcinoma.

By 2008, Jobs had lost a noticeable amount of weight, but Apple attributed his gaunt appearance to a “common bug.” In January 2009, Jobs issued a statement saying the weight loss was caused by a hormone imbalance, and that the treatment was simple. He backtracked a week later, however, announcing a six-month medical leave. During that time, he received a liver transplant that came to light two months after it was performed.

Few CEOs are considered as instrumental to their companies as Jobs has been to Apple since he returned in 1997 after a 12-year hiatus. With Jobs serving as head showman and demanding elegance in product design, Apple has expanded from a niche computer maker to become the dominant producer of portable music players, a huge player in the cell phone business and the inventor, with the iPad, of a new category of modern tablet computers.

LINK: Miguel Heft’s Coverage in the New York Times

Jobs co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976 at the dawn of the personal computer revolution. He was forced from the company in 1985 but returned as CEO in 1997, slashing unprofitable product lines and helping rescue the company from financial ruin.

Some investors fear that without Jobs, Apple would not be able to sustain its growth or its high-end minimalist style, and Apple’s shares have surged and crashed over the years with rumors or news about the CEO’s health.

In 2010, the year that brought the highly anticipated iPad, investors seemed accustomed to Jobs’ extreme thinness and focused instead on the early success of the device.

Investors may also have growing faith in Cook, who is seen as a logical successor to Jobs and who took the reins during the two previous health scares. Cook joined Apple in 1998, and ran the Cupertino, Calif.-based company for two months in 2004 while Jobs battled cancer. His performance won him the promotion to chief operating officer in 2005.

Analysts credit Cook with solving problems that Apple was having with inventory management. And under his direction in 2009, the company kept cranking out well-received products including updated laptops with lower entry-level prices and a faster iPhone with many longed-for features.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (11)
  1. No chance of going UP :9 says:

    THERE is NO CURE for Jobs cancer now his OWN ARROGANCE made him choose the POOR EVIDENCE FREE Alternative Medicine as the initial cancer treatment route.. By the time that FAILED and he went back to what EVIDENCE supported western medicine recommended – surgical removal of the tumour – IT WAS TOO late as i future symptoms showed, it had metastasized to secondary sites in his body, in his case it started destroying his liver.

    It is medically/ethically UNACCEPTABLE to use donor organs on cancer victims like Jobs since the immunosupression drugs that prevent rejection rob the body of its natural cancer fighting system resulting in the cancer becoming even more aggressive than before and reinvading and destroying the new liver even faster than the old one – in other words Jobs ABUSED the power of his wealth to ROB someone who was legally entitled to his new liver and it would have VASTLY have extended/maintained their quality of life WAY above that being UNETHICALLY ROBBED from + WASTED on/compared to Jobs couple of extra WRETCHED years of existence. Contemptible + morally repugnant a truly conceited +pompously deluded men created from our own shallow investiture in tech culture 🙁

  2. curious says:

    WOW!! Wat is the cure?!

  3. Benjamin Adjaye says:

    Wish Steve Jobs well and speedy recovery.

    Best Wishes,
    From Benjamin (Executive Director)
    Flex computers services Limited (GHANA)
    P.O. BOX 6677,Accra Ghana,West Africa
    Tel :0206003618

  4. Benjamin Adjaye says:

    Wish Steve Jobs well and a speedy recovery.

  5. Barre Flynn says:

    Most people are not worried about Jobs, they are worried about their investments and/or getting a new Iphone. He is so rich that he can buy good health while others on line for organs will die before they get them. Life will move on after Jobs. We are all replaceable. I hope he has the opportunity to return to his work. He has done an amazing job.

  6. DanTe says:

    Hmmmm… All these quicki organ transplants while people are still waiting and dying for 1 organ.

  7. Jax Riley says:

    I wish him well and that he gets back to 100%

  8. Harold says:

    I only hope he gets well soon! And that this does not affect the production of their amazing products.

  9. Mohan says:

    Cancer is cureable in quite a simple way. If you want to know more , send me just the symptoms and i’ll find a cure for you.

    Its a pity to see genius wither away. we’d like to have you around longer.

    1. Cancer Patient says:


      Massive brain tumor with little brain cells left. Doctors call it Mohan-itis.

      What’s the cure?

      Please tell us that you haven’t spawned and further contaminate the gene pool.

    2. curious says:

      WOW!! Wat is the cure?

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