You Worry Too Much. Steve’s Fine.
Apple reported the best June quarter in the company’s history, for both revenue and earnings, Monday. So why the sudden plunge in share price? Seems concerns about cancer-survivor Steve Jobs’s gaunt appearance at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in June have not subsided; nor are they likely to any time soon given the company’s response to them. Asked about Jobs’s health during Apple’s earnings call Monday, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said it “was a private matter.” Predictably, that not-exactly-reassuring remark inspired all sorts of speculation about Jobs’s well-being, which, like it or not, is tied very closely to Apple’s company fortunes. “They have a longstanding policy to not comment on that matter,” explained American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu. “They didn’t say anything new. But the answer didn’t give anybody confidence. And saying it was a ‘private matter’ didn’t help.”
That said, Apple (AAPL) seems to have recognized its misstep and is working to temper concerns over Jobs’s health. The New York Times reports that Jobs has been telling colleagues that he is cancer-free and that his gaunt appearance lately is due to nutritional issues arising from his cancer surgery. Finally, Apple does indeed have a succession strategy in place should Jobs step away from his current duties. Of course, that strategy is confidential, like pretty much every other aspect of Apple’s business.