Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Will Steve Jobs Leave the Helm in 2009?

By Rick Munarriz - Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 6:52PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Conflicting reports on Apple CEO's health highlight the need to reassure investors.

One of the biggest questions in consumer tech as we head into 2009 is whether Steve Jobs will be healthy enough to lead Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Rumors of his waning health have been routine blog fodder based on the CEO's appearance at recent events. The chatter heated up two weeks ago, when Apple announced that Jobs wouldn't appear at next month's Macworld. Oh, and that next month's conference would be the company's final Macworld.

A brief glimmer of optimism emerged yesterday when iconic Web 2.0 watcher Robert Scoble chimed in.

"I'm in Palo Alto," he posted in FriendFeed. "Just had yogurt at shop that Steve Jobs eats at frequently. They said he was in a couple of days ago and is in great health."

In a copycat Web, others jumped on the seemingly flimsy thesis with upbeat headlines:

  • "Local yogurt store tells blogger that Steve Jobs is in great health," writes VentureBeat.
  • "Apple's Jobs is (Still) Fine," reads a CNBC headline.
  • "Goldman: Jobs Health Rumors are Wrong," The Mac Observer writes.

Then came Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz, raining on the parade.

"Steve Jobs' Health Declining Rapidly, Reason for Macworld Cancellation," reads his grim headline. Relying on an unnamed source who has supposedly always been accurate, Gizmodo claims that the annual Macworld event was called off to "remove the hype factor" from the event in case Jobs isn't around for what would have been Macworld in January 2010.

Few companies are as CEO-dependent as Apple. It's hard to imagine Apple without its leader -- dressed in a black mock turtleneck and jeans -- introducing new products.

The success that Jobs has had since his return to Apple has even inspired other companies to bring back founding CEOs to turn their companies around. Unfortunately for companies like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), the return of the prodigal CEO has been more myth than reality. The legend completely fell apart at Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) this year.

Either way, Apple has to make sure that investors know that its success is about more than just one executive. Everyone wants Jobs to be fine, but no CEO is forever. Since Apple has shied away from addressing the health concerns, it better hope that new stylistic visionaries emerge out of next month's Macworld.

It doesn't seem to have a choice, no matter what the yogurt shop owner may say.

Stock news, financial commentary, and your daily dose of Foolishness: Get plugged into The Motley Fool on Twitter!

Starbucks and Dell are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Starbucks and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Get in the game and try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been adding more and more Apple products into his life in recent years. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$172.10 (2.14%) $3.61
Starbucks Corporation Stock Quote
Starbucks Corporation
$88.31 (1.19%) $1.04
Dell Technologies Inc. Stock Quote
Dell Technologies Inc.

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/13/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.