Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Fool Blog: Apple’s Health Depends on Steve Jobs

This is going to sound incredibly callous, because, well, it is: If Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) CEO Steve Jobs is once again in poor health, shareholders have a right to know. Not when he's ready to tell, or when the doctors are confident of a good prognosis, but now.

To be fair, we don't know whether Jobs is sick or not. I'm hoping not. Jobs is the genius who helped to spawn my more-than-20-year love affair with all things Mac.

But the question is worth asking. Fortune asked it last month, on the heels of his appearance at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. "Why does Steve Jobs look so thin?" the headline read. Questions regarding cancer naturally followed; Jobs has already escaped from its clutches once. A spokesperson for the iEmpire responded by telling The Wall Street Journal that he was recovering from "a common bug."

I hope that's true. In a life-imitates-art moment, Jobs revealed in an email in July of 2004 that he had undergone weekend surgery to remove a tumor. "I will be recuperating during the month of August, and expect to return to work in September," the message read. To me, it was eerily reminiscent of the old Aaron Sorkin TV series The West Wing, in which fictitious president Jed Bartlet is forced to reveal that he has a form of multiple sclerosis.

I'm glad Jobs beat cancer the first time around. The Big C has a habit of plaguing my family. My mom had it, two of my uncles have had it, and my grandfather died from it. I'm sympathetic.

But none of that changes the cold truth that Jobs is worth billions to Apple shareholders. We know because, when reports of his strikingly thin appearance on stage at WWDC surfaced, Apple’s share price dropped almost 5% in two days.

Contrast that with other tech firms. Bill Gates just retired from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , but investors didn't care -- at least, not until Mr. Softy missed estimates by a penny. (Boo-freaking-hoo.)

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) , IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) -- none of the other big tech firms face this issue. Well, perhaps one: Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) , with iconic CEO Larry Ellison.

Oracle, interestingly, offers the clearest example of what's wrong with Apple right now. Ellison has two extremely strong lieutenants in Safra Catz and Charles Phillips. Who's backstopping Jobs? No one knows.

Be well, Steve. But please also be prepared. You owe your shareholders at least that much.

Get your clicks with more Foolishness:

Apple is a Stock Advisor selection. Intel and Microsoft are Inside Value picks. Try either of these market-beating newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of IBM and Oracle at the time of publication. He's also a member of the Rule Breakers team.The Motley Fool's disclosure policy never takes a sick day.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2008, at 2:38 PM, ziq wrote:

    "Bill Gates just retired from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), but investors didn't care"

    Not really analogous, he's been handing over the reins for a long time.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 688889, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/28/2016 12:43:29 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 3 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.68 -29.65 -0.16%
S&P 500 2,133.04 -6.39 -0.30%
NASD 5,215.97 -34.29 -0.65%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/27/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $114.48 Down -1.11 -0.96%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
CSCO $30.38 Down -0.17 -0.56%
Cisco Systems CAPS Rating: ****
EMC $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
EMC CAPS Rating: ****
IBM $153.35 Up +1.54 +1.01%
IBM CAPS Rating: ****
INTC $34.81 Down -0.11 -0.32%
Intel CAPS Rating: ****
MSFT $60.10 Down -0.53 -0.87%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****
ORCL $38.22 Down -0.09 -0.23%
Oracle CAPS Rating: ****