From the Associated Press (AP):
SEATTLE (AP) -- Apple Inc. co-founder and Chief Executive Steve Jobs said Wednesday he is taking a medical leave of absence until the end of June -- just a week after the cancer survivor tried to assure investors and employees his recent weight loss was simply caused by a treatable hormone deficiency.
Jobs, 53, said in a letter last week that he would remain at Apple's helm despite the hormone deficiency, and said he had already begun the "relatively simple and straightforward" treatment for the problem. But in an e-mail to employees Wednesday, Jobs backtracked.
"During the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought," he wrote.
Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, will take over Jobs' responsibilities while he is on leave.
After-hours trading on Apple shares was halted. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company's stock had sank $2.38, or 2.7 percent, to close at $85.33.
Jobs announced in 2004 that he had undergone successful surgery to treat a very rare form of pancreatic cancer -- an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. The cancer is easily cured if diagnosed early. Jobs did not have a deadlier and more common form of pancreatic cancer called adenocarcinoma.
Here is the letter that Steve Jobs supposedly sent to Apple employees:
I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.
In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.
I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.
I wish Steve Jobs a fast recovery and the best for him and his family.
From the financial side of things, well, all indications are that the stock is going to plummet tonight and open 10%+ lower tomorrow morning. As an Apple stockholder (of the miniscule kind) who has lost a lot of what little money he has put into the stock, I am strongly considering buying some more, especially if they reach the levels I think they might reach tomorrow.
As Robert Scoble said in his post, Apple will continue to have a great team and an awe inspiring brand. Heck, they converted me from a Windows fan boy to a joint Windows and Apple fan boy. Plus, what Robert didn't mention was that Apple still has about $25-28 billion cash in the bank. That is not too shabby.
Yes, I need to give buying a couple more shares a lot of thought. Of course, as I am not a financial planner, I will not directly advise you to do the same. You need to make your own financial decisions :-)