Health concerns dog Steve Jobs; Apple needs to elucidate succession plan

“Concerns about Steve Jobs’ health aren’t going away. Today’s NY Post quotes a ‘Wall Street source’ who says hedge fund managers are still freaked out after seeing Jobs’ rail-thin appearance at the iPhone launch event last month. It also cites ‘multiple sources’ who’ve met Steve in recent weeks and are ‘troubled by his thin appearance.’ Reuters has now picked up the Post’s story; the wire service doesn’t add anything to the report, but the fact that it is repeating it gives it extra weight,” Peter Kafka writes for Silicon Alley Insider.

“We’ll take Apple at its word: Steve is OK. But his appearance, coupled with the fact that he previously didn’t disclose his cancer for 9 months, mean that he’s going to be dogged by these questions indefinitely,” Kafka writes. “Apple could try quashing the issue by issuing a comprehensive health report — in the same way that presidential candidates do — but we think Steve is unlikely to accept that level of public scrutiny.”

Kafka writes, “A more reasonable strategy for Apple, and one they are going to have to accept sooner or later: Lay out a real succession plan… Apple is going to have [to] convince Wall Street that it has a clear idea of what it intends to do if needs to replace Steve. Even if he’s in the the best of health — and we hope he is — he can’t run Apple forever.”

Full article here.

Regardless of whether or not this is pre-earnings report stock manipulation (it is), the fact that Job’s health can be used at any time by unscrupulous investors to influence Apple’s stock price dictates that Apple needs to lay out a clear succession plan immediately, if not sooner. Apple investors should demand not only much more clarity on the state of Jobs’ health, but also a clear plan for what the company will do after he retires (which hopefully won’t happen for a decade or more). This is the price you pay when a company is run by an exceedingly rare and visionary individual like Steve Jobs.

57 Comments

  1. “Even if he’s in the the best of health — and we hope he is — he can’t run Apple forever.”

    They obviously haven’t seen the specs yet for Mac OS XII. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. it makes me really angry, that they get away with it. this is FUD and nothing but FUD. and yes mdn is right: the only way tp prevent that bullshit in the the future is to publicly state today that steve is fine in the Q&A;session after the report and announce a succession plan soon.

  3. Apple’s intense desire for secrecy including deception, failures to meet expected goals and benchmarks, Jobs’ apparent gauntness. Jobs’ renowned maniacal determination for control, and no consensus regarding who may be Jobs’ replacement have raised legitimate questions of Apple’s future.

  4. What if Jobs and many others at Apple aren’t suffering from the egotistical projection that the successes of the past few years are the product of one man. And what if there is no imminent threat to Jobs health and his appearance is, as has been reported, an expected consequence of a successful surgery to treat a past problem. Do you really think Apple should change it’s focus and processes from long term development to answering what every bozo has to say on a daily basis. Do you think any possible articulation of their leadership plans would silence the bozos? It’s not Apple that’s failing to meet it’s responsibilities, it’s the press.

  5. Ballmer is at least 30 pounds overweight…which causes heart plaque, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes from stress on the pancreas, low energy, and a stale mind.
    Steve Jobs, to me, looks like a runner who is just getting older. Ballmer is clogged up and can afford a personal trainer.

  6. Steve Jobs has the stress of having to keep hanging the moon for the rest of the world, while Ballmer lives on the sheer determination of the next jelly doughnut disquised as his love for developers.

  7. Maybe this is why J.Ive has just picked up a new assistant?
    And … don’t worry about Monkey Boy, his BP will blow his head right off after Snow Leopard eats 7’s lunch then asks for seconds. And that’s assuming SL is nothing more than a leaner, meaner, fitter update to Leopard, with no significant new features of its own. If SL is much more than just a significant re-write – which no one is arguing against, just wondering if it deserves its own number – then both 7 AND 8 are in trouble.
    Woo-Hoo? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  8. As I recall, one very plausible explanation for Steve’s slim appearance in early June, was the fact that he had been globe-trotting around the world to set up all those telephony deals for the international iPhone 3G roll-out.

    Intense international travel will take it out of anyone, even Steve.

    Remember, health is our greatest wealth. (-_-)

  9. iWill,

    If Jobs is unable or unwilling to care for himself, one has to wonder if his mental faculties are intact. Perhaps Jobs doesn’t have someone he trusts to manage these negotiations meaning (a) there are no persons at Apple qualified to handle the tasks, (b) Jobs maniacal desire to exert control is becoming a psychological obsession bordering on the insane, or (c) both.

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