Just days after disclosing a "nutritional problem" that would be "relatively simple and straightforward" to fix, Steve Jobs has issued another, more ominous statement about his health:

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. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

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.

Jobs ends on a lighthearted note—"I look forward to seeing all of you this summer"—and writes that COO Tim Cook will be taking over day-to-day operations.

Any way you look at it, this is sad news. Jobs has been one of the most iconic entrepreneurs of the past three decades, becoming, it seemed, more relevant and more successful with each new product he launched from atop a stage, wearing a trademark black turtleneck.

On the other hand, perhaps Jobs's admission is a good sign—for the man and the company. The persistent rumors were clearly hurting Apple as it bumbled from one public relations debacle to the next. And it doesn't seem far fetched to think that the pressures of day-to-day operations were hampering Steve Jobs's recovery. Maybe this means that Jobs is getting serious about getting healthy, and that Apple is getting serious about succession planning.

What do you think?

Published on: Jan 14, 2009