Apple chief Steve Jobs to take six months sick leave

Steve Jobs, the driving force and chief executive of software giant Apple, says he will take sick leave until the end of June to fight health issues that “are more complex than I originally thought”.

Steve Jobs, the driving force and chief executive of software giant Apple, says he will take sick leave until the end of June to fight health issues that “are more complex than I originally thought”.

Just nine days ago Jobs wrote to investors to tell them he would stay on as chief executive despite a hormone imbalance that caused him to rapidly lose weight in recent months.

But in an email to employees, Jobs says he will temporarily step down for the good of the company.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

Tim Cook, the company’s chief operating officer, will be responsible for Apple’s day-to-day operations, although Jobs says he will remain involved in major strategic decisions while on leave.

Apple stock fell as much as 10% immediately following the announcement, but rallied to close down around 2.71%.

Apple has said repeatedly that it has the management team in place to ensure the company continues to grow without Jobs in the top job.

But analysts say Jobs’s expertise in product innovation has helped turn the company into a global powerhouse.

Mark Margevicius of research firm Gartner told AFP that Apple “very much needs him to drive, innovate and lead”.

“The thing that differentiates Apple is him; he’s a man of great vision.”

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