Peter Kafka

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Citing Health, Steve Jobs Steps Away From Apple, Again

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave and is handing over day-to-day responsibility for the company to COO Tim Cook. In a press release, Jobs says that he will “continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company”, and that he “hope[s] to be back as soon as I can.”

This is the second time in two years that poor health has forced Jobs to step away from his company. In January 2009, he made a similar announcement, and also handed over day-to-day operations to Cook. He returned full-time to Apple that spring.

During his first medical leave, Jobs, who has battled pancreatic cancer in the past, received a liver transplant.

Here’s the brief press release Apple issued this morning.

PRESS RELEASE: Apple CEO To Take Medical Leave

Apple Media Advisory
–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 17, 2011–

Apple CEO Steve Jobs today sent the following email to all Apple employees:

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

Jobs’ health is the source of endless speculation, and renewed chatter about the Apple CEO’s condition has been percolating again this month. That buzz grew louder last week, when Jobs, who had been expected to appear at the unveiling of the Verizon iPhone, sent Cook in his place.

Last week Apple and News Corp. also postponed a planned launch of the “Daily,” News Corp.’s iPad newspaper. At the time, people close to both companies said the delay was supposed to give Apple and News Corp. time to refine a iTunes new subscription feature. (News Corp. owns this Web site).

The U.S. stock market won’t be able to react to the news, because it is shut down for the Martin Luther King. Jr. holiday. But markets outside the U.S. are open. In Germany, Apple shares are down slightly. Apple is set to announce its quarterly earnings tomorrow.

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