Apple’s Steve Jobs Takes Medical Leave, Shares Likely To Plunge

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Steve Jobs wrote Apple employees that he will take a medical leave of absence but will stay CEO. It is one of the few piece of news that could cause Apple’s shares to plunge. In the message he said:

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

Steve

COO Tim Cook will handle day to day duties for now. The last time Jobs took a leave which was for cancer surgery, COO Tim Cook became the firm’s interim chief. Normally, a CEO who is out on leave is replaced.The forecasts that Apple’s shares may hit $450 or $500 will have to be put off, perhaps indefinitely. Shares trade at an all-time high of $348.

Jobs is considered nearly the sole architect of Apple’s huge success which started with the introduction of the iPod a decade ago and continued with launches of new lines of Macs, the iPhone and iPad. He is also the creator of the iTunes store which dominates that global digital music business, and the App Store–the largest consumer electronic software download service in the world.

Jobs, based on media reports, controls even the most minute details of the creation and marketing of the company’s major products.

The news comes at a time when Apple’s flagship iPhone franchise has been challenged by a number of successful Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android-based handsets

Douglas A. McIntyre

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