Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Steve Jobs Asks for Privacy–and He Deserves It This Time

There had indeed been rumors about Steve Jobs’s health, after he didn’t show up at the Apple iPhone launch on Verizon Wireless in New York last week, as was expected.

And then they flared again, when the event to show off News Corp.’s new Apple iPad-only newspaper, the Daily, was postponed due to issues related to its subscription system.

This pair of non-Jobs events had caused a low-grade rumble in Silicon Valley that perhaps tech’s most iconic, gifted and charismatic CEO could be sick again.

In fact, I got a dozen calls last week from people asking me if I knew if anything was wrong, which I did not.

And while the tech echo chamber usually puts two and two together and comes up with three, this time all that gossip turned out to be quite correct.

Jobs is once again ill enough to have to take time off from his leadership role, which he called a “medical leave of absence” in an email to his staff released today.

So now, once again, the intense debate will begin about exactly what is happening with Jobs’s health, how much Apple should reveal and how much it will likely not, and how that is so very awful, because the people deserve to know.

In fact, we–the media and Wall Street and Apple users–already know plenty enough, which is: Jobs has had a persistent and very serious illness he has been fighting successfully for many years now.

But his outlook, from the moment he found out about his particular form of pancreatic cancer, has never been really good.

More to the point, his ability to bounce back several times has been both heartening and more than a little miraculous.

But, remember this: Both times he has taken time off for health reasons, Jobs has come back with fierce and game-changing innovation.

The iPhone came out after his first big bout with his illness, the iPad after the second.

Today, it’s happened a third time and I suspect much of what will be written about his diagnosis will be sheer speculation and only a little bit will be accurate reporting.

I am guessing this time too that Jobs will be as tight-lipped as ever about what he’s going through, which could be a wide range of medical issues, some more serious than others.

And that, I think, should be what everyone should let him do, because the public Steve Jobs has given his large audience more than enough since he got back after the last time he was sick.

Today, he said in the email: “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.”

I, for one, think he deserves exactly that and much more.

But, if you can’t get enough of him, until he hopefully recovers, will you settle for this tremendous onstage interview he gave to Walt Mossberg and me last year at the eighth D: All Things Digital conference?

It is vintage Jobs, as you will see:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work