Apple’s (AAPL) explanation of why Steve Jobs looked thin and wan at WWDC on Monday has not put to rest concerns that he’s suffering from something more serious than a “common bug.” Apple’s stock has been smashed in recent days and is down another 3% this morning.
Specifically, Apple’s explanation did not rule out the possibility that Steve’s cancer has come back. Unless/until Apple or Steve issues a statement that clearly rules out this possibility — or unless/until Steve appears publicly again looking to be in robust health — we expect these concerns will persist.
Even if Steve is fine, which we hope he is, this episode should make it more obvious to Apple that the company needs to develop and articulate a clear succession and Steve Jobs-diversification plan. As the drop in Apple’s stock shows, the company’s brand and market value is still heavily dependent on Steve, and the time has come for Apple to openly discuss how it plans to reduce this dependency over time.
We hope Steve is in great shape. We also know that the mere discussion of this topic seems inappropriate to many readers, and we apologise for that. We regard Steve Jobs’ health as a significant issue for Apple’s business.