The latest word on Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs’ health: He’s fine. That’s what CNBC’s Jim Goldman says, based on his Apple source. And that’s what a frozen yogurt clerk says in Palo Alto. Assuming these experts are right, we’re happy to hear it.
But as we’ve said before, the idea that people shouldn’t think or write about Steve’s health because of his “right to privacy” is ludicrous.
The latest appeal is from All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher:
“…The fact of the matter is that Jobs’ health is still nobody’s business, as it has not been throughout this bizarre obsession with one man’s personal issues.”
CNBC’s Jim Goldman also climbs on the high horse:
“Media and bloggers want to cloud your thoughts and opinions with big words, and rumours, and innuendo, and indignancy.”
Why does Steve’s health get so much attention? It’s not just reporters. A huge number of people care about Steve, for different — and legitimate — reasons. Such as:
- He is one of Apple’s most valuable assets, and shareholders want (and deserve) to know the condition of those assets (especially since Apple chose not to report Steve’s potentially life-threatening cancer in the past).
- Steve’s health affects the stock price, the company’s performance, and the perception of the company.
- Steve has been the face of public Apple since he returned and has adoring, passionate fans and followers who would be crushed if he were sick.
- He is a billionaire celebrity — a public figure, not an anonymous civilian.
As we noted yesterday, this issue is not going away any time soon.
Apple has a talented management team, which will, in theory, help Apple continue to deliver quality products and financial results once Steve eventually retires. But like it or not, Steve is still Steve. Which means that even after Apple announces a succession plan, there will still be extreme interest and speculation about Steve’s health from Apple fans, investors, and media. As there should be. Because it matters.
And if Steve’s health ever really does take a turn for the worse, will CNBC and AllThingsD will report it? Of course they will. They won’t be doing their jobs if they don’t.