Jobs takes third medical leave

By James Crowell
January 25, 2011

Jobs at an Apple press conference

It has happened before.

Apple Inc. CEO Steven Paul Jobs is currently on his third medical leave of absence from the multi-billion dollar company that he co-founded along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne on April 1, 1976.

In August 2004, Jobs took his first medical leave after it was announced that he had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his pancreas. Jobs’ second medical leave happened in January 2009 when Jobs decided he needed to focus on his health.  During that time, Jobs received a liver transplant.

Jobs’ 2004 medical leave of absence only lasted one month and his second leave of absence lasted six months.  This time, Jobs is on an indefinite, self-imposed medical leave from Apple.

Since the first iPod launch in 2001, Jobs has been the primary creative powerhouse and laser-focused driving force behind all of Apple’s product launches.  Now some ask, “will Steve Jobs ever return to his day-to-day duties at Apple?”

I answer that with another question, “does it matter?”

If you think about it, Jobs has imprinted his personal approach onto every product and software title Apple sells.  Apple does not sell or market anything that Jobs does not approve of personally.  He has his hand in everything that goes on at Apple.

What it boils down to is Jobs’ central approach to how he runs his company, and that approach is a simple and uncomplicated idea: Jobs says no.  A lot.

What I mean is, Jobs needs to always “shave away” anything that could make his company’s products any more complicated than they absolutely need to be.  This can easily be seen in how there are so few buttons on the iPad and the iPhone.

Most technology gadgets have more buttons than there are fingers on both of your hands.  By keeping it simple, Jobs allows the true power and elegance of his inventions to shine.

I asked, “does it matter?”  And I will answer “no.”

It does not matter if Jobs returns.  Jobs’ imprinted his mind set and “less is more” mentality in the work ethic of his employees ensures that Apple will continue to maintain leadership in the mobile phone market and dominate position in the tablet computer market.  Apple will be fine without Jobs in the long run, but that is not to say he will not be missed.

Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, but it was not just any kind of cancer.  The kind of tumor Jobs had removed was a slow-growing, rare cancer called a pancreatic neuroendocrine islet cell tumor.  Although this type of cancer has a higher survival rate than other forms of cancer, Jobs still suffers.

Now in 2011, I believe that Jobs’ cancer has returned. Via Occam’s razor, since Jobs has left before due to his health, I conclude that something has happened that Jobs needed to take an indefinite break from his company.

In a Jan. 17, 2011 New York Times article, someone close to Jobs who requested anonymity said that Jobs suffers from immune system problems common in liver transplant patients.  The same source said Jobs’ health suffers from frequent “ups and downs,” and that in the weeks before his Jan. 17 medical leave he was in a “down cycle.”

Yes, Jobs may come back and continue to run the company he helped create.  The cult-like following that Jobs has attracted over the decades has by-and-large helped the sales and persona of Apple.  But the company Jobs helped create will be fine when Jobs leaves.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, he is still the CEO of the company, and he will continue to “be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”  But, 50 years from now, very few current CEOs will remain as heads of their companies, and this includes Apple.

Timothy Cook, Apple’s current chief operating officer, has taken over Jobs’ day-to-day responsibilities at the company at the request of Jobs.

True, it is likely that there will be a second generation iPad announced and launched soon, as well as a new fifth generation iPhone coming this summer, a new operation system titled Mac OS Lion and a refresh of their iPod product lines in the fall.

All of these products coming down the line means that for all intents and purposes, Apple will be running on autopilot.  At least until 2012.

It seems to me that Jobs has a large amount of faith in Cook.  Furthermore, Jobs has infused so much of himself and his way of thinking into everything Apple does, that I believe when Jobs finally leaves Apple, there will be a whole lot of uproar over who will lead the company.

I’m sure the stock price will fluctuate and the shareholders will worry.  But at the end of the day, Apple will not falter.  People who buy Apple products will not stop buying Apple products.  Although Apple’s CEO succession plans are a closely guarded secret, it is safe to say that Cook is a front runner to replace Jobs.

Personally, I will not stop buying iPhones and MacBooks just because of who leads the company.  Jobs is an excellent salesman and there will be nobody else in the world who could replace him.  His legacy will always live on through the products he has created and the example he has set for the 21st century businessman.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

James Crowell

Senior com major at Cabrini College. Technical Director for LOQation. On-Air personality on WYBF-FM. Past News editor for The Loquitur, 2011-12. Passion for videography, tech news & quantum mechanics. Follow me @JamesCrowellJr

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap