By Richard Menta 9/10/08
It caught me off guard how gaunt Steve Jobs was at Apple's Let's Rock event yesterday. The rumors of his death were clearly untrue, as Jobs himself joked about early in the presentation, but just as clear is the fact that he is battling some health issue. Just the way his blue jeans hung off of him implied he lost too much weight too soon. Is it cancer again? Hopefully not, but the sad fact about the disease is that it frequently comes back. That's why cancer survivors are never referred to as cured.
I can understand why Jobs, or anyone else in the public eye, would wish to keep any serious health issues private. It's hard enough dealing with the emotional turmoil of sickness let alone have your demise spread on the front pages. The premature obituary was a simple mistake, but it hung in my thoughts as I tried to follow each new product introduction.
Bear in mind, when he says he is fine it very well may be true, at least in the sense that he again triumphed over what ails him and now just needs to put the pounds back on. But more than once Jobs has looked into the camera to deny a product he would officially unveil a few weeks later, so I can't say his comments assuage concerns. It only brings you back to the many photos documenting an all-too-skinny CEO.
Wall Street is not comfortable with the idea of an Apple not helmed by Steve Jobs. In this chicken little environment that has spawned the shockingly fast demise of Bear Stearns and the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an honest answer could be brutal to stock holders. This only gives Jobs and company more reason to keep his private life private.
Is Steve Jobs sick? I don't know, but the coming months will probably tell. Hopefully, it will be a chubby and healthy Jobs introducing new products at next January's Macworld.
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