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Jobs lost?

The head of technology company Apple says he is taking a new leave of absence for health reasons.

Last modified: 18 Jan 2011 01:05
Picture from GALLO/GETTY

 

 

Steve Jobs is probably the coolest CEO on the planet.

It's a title many aspire to - but Jobs is the real deal - the visionary leader of a company that makes products millions want to buy.

In part that's why Apple shares tumbled so much on European bourses when he wrote to staff saying the board had granted him medical leave of absence to battle his health issues.

In his memo, Jobs said:  "I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company."

But he also wrote:  "I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can.  In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy."

Duncan Bell, from T3 (The Gadget Magazine) told al Jazeera:

"I don't want to overstate it and say without Steve Jobs Apple will collapse, I mean obviously, it's a team effort, it's a very large multinational company with a large team at its disposal but they would not wish for this to have happened obviously put it that way."

When Jobs was forced out of Apple in the mid-'80s, the firm's fortunes took a serious wobble.

The problem is everything goes through him. 

Responsibility for the design, functionality and interface of all Apple products stops with him.

Apple, however, is thought to have a product pipeline stretching ahead as many as three to five years according to people who would know and nor is it a one man band firm.

Jobs has asked his number two Tim Cook, the Chief Operating Officer, to take over, as he did two years ago when Jobs last took medical leave of absence. 

Others in the firm, like design wunderkind Jonathan "Jony" Ive, are thought to me more than capable to lead as well.

But few will have the star power of Steve Jobs.  

Later this week Apple's is expected to officially expand its iPhone contract with America's largest wireless provider Verizon. 

In the coming weeks announcements are expected on the iPad and possibly the iPhone. But now we know Steve Jobs, business guru and hero to many tech geeks around the world, is unlikely to be there for those announcements battling his own healthcare problems instead.

Apple shares fell sharply on European bourses on Monday; New York's markets were closed for the Martin Luther King day.

 

Analysts say look for a similar fall on Tuesday as markets here adjust, followed by a rebound once Apple's 2010 fourth quarter business results are announced late in the afternoon.