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Everything is going to be okay with Jobs, Apple executives' reassurances seem to suggest

Apparently even when off the job, Apple's divisive, but brilliant leader Steve Jobs is still on the job.  At a one hour annual shareholder meeting held at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, executives said that while Jobs was away, he still was putting in a great deal of work directing the company behind the scenes.  They said that he was deeply involved in their decision making process.

Steve Jobs, who founded Apple and guided it through its two most successful spans -- the Apple II/Mac era and then the iProduct era -- had been the subject of wild rumors last year, when he appeared gaunt and sickly at public appearances.  He initially brushed off the concerns, eventually breaking his silence this January to say he had hormonal problems, which he was receiving treatment for.  However, later in January he announced that he was taking a leave of absence until June, citing that his medical issues were "more complex" than previously expected.

The news launched wild speculation, as Jobs was diagnosed in 2004 with a rare kind of pancreatic cancer, which he received treatment for and apparently had fully recovered from.  Many wonder -- and still do -- whether Apple could continue its recent successes without Jobs' guiding hand.

However, Apple's top executives went on record at the meeting to state that "nothing has changed" with Jobs' health.  They also declined address recent allegations that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company's disclosures of Jobs' health problems for possible misconduct.

Even if Apple's executives don't find themselves in trouble with the SEC, if Jobs' health deteriorates the company may find itself with a slew of lawsuits from shareholders over its disclosures, according to legal experts.  Apple is in a tricky position as medical disclosures are a gray area of the law, so shareholders could sue if Apple declared too much (potentially causing Apple stock to plunge) or too little (causing shareholders to retain stocks for lack of information).

Apple's shareholders weren't just worried about Jobs, though.  They were also concerned about how the company plans to stay competitive in the currently bleak economy with expensive notebooks and iPods, which some say are overpriced.  Apple's leadership deflected most of these questions as well, avoiding the issue of slumping computer sales and pointing to successes like the iPhone.

Despite the doom and gloom mood at the meeting, the shareholders did perk up a bit when one of the executives suggested they all sing happy birthday to Steve Jobs, who turned 54 on Tuesday.  While they didn't get to see their leader, the song seemed to take shareholders minds off Apple's pressing problems, if only for a moment.

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By JAB on 2/26/2009 8:55:42 AM , Rating: -1
Jobs only seems to divide the windows community. Never have seen him as a bad leader in Apple. No expert on that side though.

I just dont see why people feel the need to dive into his personal health. People should not buy and sell stocks with every change of the wind or bad hair day. That is how we got is such a lousy economy. Apple may not continue grow like crazy if he leaves but they will do OK.

RE: divisive?
By JasonMick on 2/26/2009 8:58:47 AM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding? While Apple fans may overall show Jobs a lot of love, they're constantly complaining about how he goes his own way, a la refusing to add certain seemingly easy features to the iPhone.

However, you are partially correct, in that I was primarily referring to how he divides tech users into two classes -- those who love Apple, and those who for the most part can't stand it. There's just a very few of us (I count myself as one of these) who are in between and try to look at the good *AND* the bad.

RE: divisive?
By h0kiez on 2/26/2009 10:12:16 AM , Rating: 2
Using your brain? How novel.

I agree. I don't buy apple stuff because I will always prefer something that lets me tweak and tinker, and I can always get the same functionality for a lot less money, but for people who have more money than know-how, I can see the appeal.

Plus, we all owe apple a lot for forcing others to "innovate" (even if that just means copying Apple's good ideas). From OSs to Smartphones, Apple is ahead of the curve in many ways, and users benefit from it even if they never buy a single Apple product.

RE: divisive?
By Pirks on 2/26/09, Rating: 0
RE: divisive?
By TheFace on 2/26/2009 9:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
All you need to do is look back at the last time he left to see what happened to the company. Then when he came back it rose from the ashes. Granted history doesn't have to repeat itself, but Apple is his vision.

Even in a good market, shareholders fret about the most mundane things. It borders on the ridiculous at times.

RE: divisive?
By kelmon on 2/26/2009 11:14:57 AM , Rating: 2
I tend to think that Apple will be just fine without Steve Jobs. Tim Cook appears to be a competent COO and everything that Jonathan Ive touches seems to turn to gold. However, I don't see anyone replacing him as a CEO in his style so certainly things will be different when he leaves the company.

At the end of the day, Apple is bigger than Steve Jobs and there's a lot of people who work there beyond him.

RE: divisive?
By molgenit on 2/26/2009 2:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
Apple did improve with his return, although people seem to forget he failed with the Next" computer. His persona is a major factor that keeps Apple going and I'm not so sure it will do well after he is gone.

RE: divisive?
By Lord 666 on 2/26/2009 6:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
And flipped the minor Next loss into a huge Pixar jackpot

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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