For the second time in as many years, Apple announced today that its legendary CEO, Steve Jobs, would take a medical leave of absence from the company for an unspecified period of time and for unspecified treatment. Jobs, who disclosed in 2004 that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was absent from the company once before, between January and June of 2009. During that time, Jobs underwent a liver transplant and has since become an advocate for greater access to organ transplant procedures.

Jobs announced his latest leave in an e-mail released on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday in he United States on which the stock markets are closed. Writing to employees, Jobs said:

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple's day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

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.

Steve

What do you think this means for Apple?