Steve Jobs’ health disclosure: adequate, but late?

“Apple (AAPL) investors got answers to some of their nagging questions about the health of the company’s chief executive, Steve Jobs, on Jan. 5 when Jobs disclosed in a letter that he is suffering from a hormone imbalance that has caused rapid weight loss over the past year,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek. “Some shareholders were cheered by the disclosure, and Apple shares rose 4.2%, to 94.58.”

“But some corporate governance experts questioned whether Apple said as much—as early—as necessary,” Hesseldahl reports. “Joe Grundfest, co-director of the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, says securities lawyers could ‘get a good debate going’ over whether Apple was as forthcoming as necessary. ‘Some will say this is good enough, and some will argue that we finally have disclosure and that it’s adequate but late,’ Grundfest said.”

Hesseldahl reports, “Another question raised by the disclosure is how much more Apple may be compelled to say on the issue. Will the company need to make regular updates on the executive’s health?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The following Take from December 17, 2008 applies just as well today:

By SteveJack

Let’s face it: the way things are today, short of Jobs retiring, or God forbid, dropping dead, nothing is going to change the pattern of Steve Jobs health scares, regardless of whether they’re real, imagined, or invented manipulations intended to affect the price of Apple stock.

Jobs could walk on water this afternoon and some people would voice “concern” that he only accomplished it because he’s lost so much weight that he’s about to ascend into heaven.

There’s only so much Apple shareholders can take. An extremely well-positioned, successful company having its share price driven down artificially whenever some short seller desires to cry wolf, er… “gaunt” is not something serious, or even casual, investors welcome. Those who are charged with keeping order (SEC) in the markets are obviously incompetent, AWOL, or both. Perhaps, Jim Cramer and many others (see below for one example) are right in calling loudly for reinstatement of the uptick rule?

The chairman of the SEC [Christopher Cox] serves at the appointment of the president and has betrayed the public’s trust. If I were President today, I would fire him… Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch. The regulators were asleep, my friends, they were not working for you. [The SEC has allowed abusive short-selling, to turn] our markets into a casino.Senator John McCain, September 18, 2008

In this current climate, with stock-price-affecting health “concerns,” real or not, that can only be alleviated via retirement or death, and in the absence of the uptick rule, has Steve Jobs become too much of a liability for Apple shareholders? With his “health” sitting there as ammunition to be used whenever the shorts desire to fire off a few rounds, can Steve Jobs remain as Apple CEO without the uptick rule in place?

We get email here. Some AAPL shareholders are not happy with what they consider to be obvious and uncontrolled manipulation.

In an attempt to achieve utter clarity, here’s the Either/Or statement: Either Steve Jobs has to go or the uptick rule has to return. Without one or the other, Apple shareholders are at the mercy of forces that have absolutely nothing to do the the company’s current and future performance. AAPL stock simply cannot be recommended, if its performance has little or nothing to do with the company’s actual results. Cancel or Allow?

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers”Fred Mertz” and “James W.” for the heads up.]


  1. Now CNN found doctors that say the hormone balance is alarming and can be caused by many very mysterious but serious illnesses. This is why Apple will not be at MacWorld any more. Apple needs better control of when the M$ run press will slam their stock.

    Just my $0.02

  2. I wouldn’t say the disclosure was too late, there have been several Jobs/Apple disclosures about the weight loss previously.

    1. It’s a common bug and he is being treated with antibiotics.

    2. I¨m just fine.

    3. It’s hormonal imbalance that has caused rapid weight loss over the past year.

    As always, the latest word from Apple PR is the truth and we should erase or alter any previous statements accordingly from our collective memory. Going, going, gone! That was easy!

  3. The shorts are not going to stop if Steve steps down. They’ll come up with a new story like the supply chain for building ipods is having problems. Because Apple is successful, they will always be a target. The focus should be on SEC for not doing it’s job.

  4. The absolutely rabid (and stupid) press will never be happy with Jobs’ and Apple’s disclosures. Never.

    It really is the “Not Dead Fred” scenario I mentioned yesterday. They need Jobs to be dying to keep people reading. The shorts and hedges need Jobs to be dying for them to make money.

    Jobs could be certified by the Surgeon General, the Mayo Clinic and Stanford as being 100% healthy and these people would still push the rumors that Jobs bought off these people to get a false clean bill of health.

  5. Didn’t Steve say that for a long time he (or his doctors) didn’t know why he was losing weight, and that it was just recently that they finally got to the cause of it? So what was it that Steve & Co would have had to report on any earlier? Didn’t he also say that the “cure” was quite simple? That tells me that there is no underlying serious condition that is the cause.

    Of course, I’m not trying to sensationalize nor am I trying to drum up hits for a web site, so maybe I can think more rationally (or honestly) about what was said.

  6. The truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that the fix is in on AAPL. Market manipulators will make sure that the one solid, reliable, growth-based equity in their miserable portfolios will regularly go UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN . . . wherein lies their long/short profit cycles.

    If–and probably when–the market finally shakes these brigands out of their holes via “naked short” and “uptick” enforcement, we just MAY see growth in AAPL once again. But don’t count on it for another year or so. Ain’t gonna’ happen, IMHO.

  7. How could he announce what he didn’t know? Sounds like he and his doctors just figured out what is causing the weight loss.

    What was he supposed to say, “Yes, I acknowledge I’m losing weight; even my wife and kids are alarmed, not to mention the shareholders. We still don’t know why, but I feel fine. We’re hoping the cancer hasn’t come back.” What would THAT have done for the stock price?

    If you were a billionaire with cancer, would you keep WORKING or would you be in the hospital getting the best care money can buy? The fact that he’s still working every day is the clue here.

    Give it a rest, people!

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  8. Steve’s letter did not do anything but further fan the flames.

    “a common bug” = Could be aids or the flu.

    “doctors feel” = the doctors “know” very little. They’re guessing.

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