Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

If you care, then you probably know by now that Steve Jobs has reassured everyone that he is not dying from cancer. Instead he's got a hormone imbalance that apparently took his doctors half a year to find. Investors can now all feel relieved that Jobs will stay at the helm of Apple for some time to come.

I find this situation rather amusing. Not that Jobs is ill. I wouldn't want that for anybody. The amusing part is that people insist that he share his health situation with the general public. Apparently being CEO of Apple means that one's personal business is no longer personal. It's public domain information.

Jobs has been criticized for keeping his health information private. In 2003 Apple waited 9 months to disclose Jobs' pancreatic cancer. There is no official policy of when a company is required to divulge health information of their top honchos. Even so, many think that something which may have a drastic effect on a company should be public knowledge.

I sort of get where they are coming from. If you believe that it is the people at the top of the ladder, and not the system, which makes a company successful, then of course you would want to know the status of those people. Mostly though, I say it doesn't really matter. A good company should have a contingency plan in place for any situation in which the CEO is unable to continue his position. Jobs could live a long life, his cancer could come back, or he could get struck by lightening. (Okay, that one is rather unlikely, with a probability of about 0.000032%.) If Apple is not prepared to deal with any of those circumstances, then I don't want to own their stock anyways.

My favorite article about Jobs is this one, which points out that his statement about having a "hormone imbalance" is almost useless to anyone who really feels the need to understand his medical situation. He has managed to "disclose" his situation without really disclosing anything!

1 Comment:

Kent said...

In most cases, I think it would be pointless to worry about the CEO of a company. But with Apple... They were a mess without him. They got smart with him back. I hope they can stay smart, but I understand why investors are worried.