Apple CEO sets the record straight


5 Jan 2009

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When does technology journalism become celebrity gossip? When Apple CEO Steve Jobs has to release a statement about his health after deathbed theories multiply. One of the highlights of all this is ‘evidence’ of Jobs’ good health being based on an observation from an employee in a yogurt shop.

Of course, the health of a firm’s CEO does play a factor in share values, and one of the biggest pieces of tech news circulating as 2008 wound up was that 2009 would see the final installment of Macworld. With Steve Jobs no longer at the helm of Macworld delivering the keynote speech, the honours are being left to head of marketing Phil Schiller, all of which caused intense speculation as to Jobs’ health.

Following Jobs deathbed rumours last week, Apple stock fell from US$87.92 to US$84.72.

However, the Apple CEO today published an official statement acknowledging that he has been losing weight throughout 2008, but that he has a diagnosed and treatable illness: “Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause – a hormone imbalance that has been ‘robbing’ me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.”

More importantly, Jobs said that if and when he does decide to step down as Apple CEO, the decision and announcement will be made quickly: “I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years now. I will be the first one to step up and tell our board of directors if I can no longer continue to fulfil my duties as Apple’s CEO.”

So while Jobs recuperates, the real gossip goes back to 25 January and the last ever Macworld event: can Apple trump the iPod, the iPhone and the MacBook Air, or, more likely, will this year be one of product improvements rather than re-inventions?

According to Newsweek, analysts are expecting good things from the event, with an update to the Mac Mini a sure thing.

By Marie Boran