Bad Apple: Steve Jobs Takes Leave of Absence

Just nine days after Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs — pancreatic cancer survivor and general bellwether for Apple’s stock — admitted to a hormonal imbalance that kept him from keynoting last week’s Macworld, a memo confirms that he will, in fact, be taking a medical leave of absence.

While last week he said he was in fine condition to tend the Apple tree, on Wednesday he e-mailed employees to say that his hormonal imbalance is “more complex” than he originally thought, and that the constant health speculation in the industry is a distraction for him and his family.

His absence will last until the end of June.

Wisely, Apple initially suspended its stock after the announcement to avoid reactionary investment fleeing such as it witnessed last summer, when Jobs appeared at a conference gaunt and skeletal. Speculation as to his condition drove the Apple stock down 10 percent at that time; the Macworld announcement sent it down 2 percent, although it rebounded. It’s unclear whether the suspension strategy worked: Apple stock is now back open and down almost 8 percent in after-hours trading.

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