updated 03:15 pm EST, Mon February 23, 2009
Jobs to skip ASM
Steve Jobs will not be appearing at Apple's annual shareholders' meeting this year, Bloomberg reports. The meeting is scheduled for February 25th, only a day after Jobs' 54 birthday, and will mark the first time the CEO has not attended an Apple ASM since his return to the company in 1996. No audio or video will be broadcast, according to Apple spokesman Steve Dowling, and it is also said that no transcript will be available, in keeping with recent years.
Journalists will be allowed to watch a video feed from a separate room however, and Dowling acknowledges that the reason for Jobs' absence is his formal medical leave, which is set to stretch through June. The absence may be particularly ill-timed, as shareholders are set to vote on whether to re-elect the current board. Jobs will also be unable to defend the company against anticipated accusations, suggesting it has deliberately withheld information on his condition.
"The company has a responsibility to let public shareholders know that the organizational structure will be sound if Steve Jobs has to leave for any reason," says Ryan Jacob, the head of the Jacob Internet Fund, which holds Apple stock as its third-largest holding. Information on Jobs' condition and the potential impact has been "poor at best," claims Jacob.
Concern about Jobs' health is such that an SEC investigation has been launched, expected to cope with the timeframe between Jobs' confession of a "hormonal imbalance" and the announcement of the six-month leave, made only nine days later. Something unusual must have been discovered to justify a second announcement, observers have noted.