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Rumors Run Riot About Steve Jobs' Health

We could go on and on about what it would mean for Apple to lose Steve Jobs as Chief Executive Officer for whatever reason, but we won’t. Instead we offer you this scrap of an example: Yesterday, the Cupertino company announced that Steve Jobs would not be giving his traditional Keynote at the 2009 MacWorld conference due to take place in January and Apple stocks dropped a reported 2 percent.

However, those so quick to panic at the thought of an Jobsless Apple or even an Appleless MacWorld should probably reign in their concerns for the time being. The health of the CEO is nobody’s business but his own. Again, this is something that has been disputed as the months go by and Jobs appears at shows looking pale and gaunt. Those disputing the matter are usually the first to admit Jobs’ health is a private matter but the company’s health is a matter concerning shareholders. That brings about the question of whether or not a Jobs departure would affect Apple’s health as a company.

It’s hard to say. Obviously, you can never say never, but we’d be inclined to believe it’d be a case of business as usual if Jobs decided to leave the company or was forced to resign for personal reasons, such as bad health. Jobs has lead Apple through the hard times and turned it into a successful company with money in the bank during a time when not a lot of companies can say the same. There is more talent than ever at Apple, and sure, a change in leadership would mean a change in operations. Everyone has their own way of doing things but Jobs did not make Apple what it is today all by himself. Behind him is a gifted and skilled group of executives that are often forgotten when people start to harp on about Steve’s health.

Jim Goldman for CNBC reports that sources inside the company tell him Jobs’ decision was “more about politics than his pancreas.” Sources said that if Jobs was for some reason unable to perform any of his responsibilities as CEO because of health reasons, which would include the Macworld keynote, Goldman could "rest assured that the board would let me know." This is exactly what we’re talking about.

When Jobs was diagnosed with cancer several years ago he kept quiet about it for nine months. He then had surgery and told his staff he would be fine. This course of action was heavily criticized by those who feel shareholders had a right to know. When the CEO was diagnosed with cancer, a biopsy soon revealed that it was a rare form of pancreatic cancer, which, if diagnosed in time, was treatable with surgery.

If Steve knew his condition was not life threatening, much less a threat to his position at Apple, who’s business is it but his own? Staff and shareholders were informed after the surgery was performed (and was successful) and told Steve would be taking the month of August to recuperate. Seems like Steve did his job. As soon as he was unable to perform his responsibilities as CEO, he came clean right away.

What do you think a Jobsless Apple would be like? Do you think the health of the company is dependent on the CEO and founder or do you think, now that Apple has grown and matured into a successful company, the right replacement could pull it off? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.