Stop me if you've heard this one: Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave from Apple.
That news spread across the InterWebs like butter on a hotplate yesterday, thanks to a six-sentence email distributed to Apple employees from the desk of Steve Jobs himself.
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By my unofficial count some 17,352 blogs and news sites were repeating the same three bits of information:
- Jobs was taking an indefinite leave, his third since an operation for pancreatic cancer in 2004;
- COO Tim Cook would be handling daily operations, as he did during Jobs' previous leaves;
- Steve would still be involved in all the important decisions.
And that's it. Guess this blog post makes it 17,353.
Aside from that, the announcement leaves more questions than answers, as IDG News' Juan Carlos Perez and 17,000 other reporter/bloggers noted.
The New York Times managed to add a scosh more information, namely that liver transplant recipients go through frequent up and down cycles, and Jobs has been in a down cycle of late, according to Apple sources who know better than to go on the record with the Times. Per the Times, Jobs has only been coming into Apple offices a couple of times a week.
My guess, based on that news and the timing of the Apple announcement -- early on a federal holiday when the U.S. stock markets are closed, the day before Apple is set to announce big earnings -- is that the "medical leave" is already well under way. Apple is acknowledging what Jobs has been doing (resting, weighing in for the big decisions) for some time now, but wanted to get ahead of any leaks that would cause a much bigger maelstrom, and to do it in a way that would minimize the impact on its share price. Just a hunch.