Rumors that Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs is in deteriorating health have been abroad at least since last summer, when journalists and tech-market analysts began fretting aloud over his gaunt appearance. For the many investors who care about Apple's stock, this is no idle worry. The mystique-laden Jobs, after all, is credited as a driving force behind the company's success, and he has already undergone treatment for cancer, in 2004.
The rumors were revived when Apple announced that Phil Schiller, the company's senior VP for worldwide marketing, would be delivering the keynote address at Macworld, the conference that started yesterday at the Moscone Center. What could have forced Jobs to give up the keynote slot, where he usually introduces new products? (One waggish contribution to the blogosphere can be seen above.)
Now we know -- although we don't know much. In a statement posted online today, Jobs says he is suffering from "a hormone imbalance that has been 'robbing' me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy." He continues, "The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I've already begun treatment."
Jobs says he expects to recover -- and make up the weight loss that led to so much speculation -- by late this spring, and will hold on to his post as CEO while he recovers. But don't expect to learn anything further about his condition and its seriousness -- at least not from Jobs or Apple. Jobs' statement concludes, "So now I've said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this." --Peter Jamison