Monday, June 22, 2009

Apple - Steve Jobs - iPhone vs liver

Appleā€™s (AAPL) leader Steve Jobs it turns out has had a liver transplant and is coming back to work. Maybe just part time. Everyone makes much of the confidentiality quandary. The right of shareholders to know vs the right of Steve Jobs to privacy. At this point I would say that Steve Jobs does not have privacy and the shareholder really knows nothing, at least not on a timely basis.

Mr. Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976, is considered the company's visionary and creative leader. William Hawkins, a doctor specializing in pancreatic and gastrointestinal surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., said that patients whose tumors have metastasized can live for as many as 10 years without any treatment so it is hard to determine how successful a transplant has been in curing the disease.

Pundits say that once he returns to work Apple will have to be very careful about what it says about his health. But has he really left work? News reports indicate that he has stayed involved in product decisions and has even been seen in his office.

What makes me skeptical about this one is that the whole liver transplant issues seems to be coming out at the same time as the new iPhone release. The hype which is considerable over shadows the liver issues that Steve Jobs has.

This is a serious medical issue which does not lend itself to business thinking. Businessmen want control and predictability. Liver transplants can go either way. The real issue is leadership at Apple. Steve Jobs as a medical wild card should be baked in by now. What we do not have a clear enough view on is the replacement players. This is the responsibility of the Apple Board and so far they have not comforted the shareholder.