“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.