Steve Jobs Skips Macworld Because of His Health

Answering recent coverage about his health, Steve Jobs has published this letter to the Apple community. Looks like our source was partly right: Jobs' precarious condition was the main reason for his Macworld no-show. Updated

Dear Apple Community,

For the first time in a decade, I'm getting to spend the holiday season with my family, rather than intensely preparing for a Macworld keynote.

Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the Macworld keynote set off another flurry of rumours about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed.

I've decided to share something very personal with the Apple community so that we can all relax and enjoy the show tomorrow.

As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority.

Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause — a hormone imbalance that has been "robbing" me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.

The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I've already begun treatment. But, just like I didn't lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple's CEO during my recovery.

I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years now. I will be the first one to step up and tell our Board of Directors if I can no longer continue to fulfil my duties as Apple's CEO. I hope the Apple community will support me in my recovery and know that I will always put what is best for Apple first.

So now I've said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this.


What does this mean? First and foremost, that his health is not declining rapidly now, as our source affirmed. Thank god for that. Like I said in the original article, I hoped our source was wrong about this point.

The source's information was probably from earlier in the year. But as Steve Jobs says in his letter, the doctors found the cause of his declining health and he's now under a "relatively simple and straightforward" treatment. He says he is recovering. That's excellent news.

But our source was right that a big part of the reason why Steve Jobs is not doing the Macworld 2009 keynote is his health. The letter above states that he's putting priority #1, his health, ahead of doing the last Macworld Keynote. The truth, as written by Steve Jobs himself, is that he has to recover from a medical condition. He didn't want to put himself through the ordeal of preparing the keynote—the hardest part—and delivering it for two hours. That's why he decided to take time off with his family and keep recovering.

While there are plenty of other reasons why it makes sense to put other executives on stage — to let the public know that there are other capable people leading apple, for one, or because the products this year are not worthy of Steve's presentation — none of them make as much sense as this personal decision. Apple PR muscle tried to mislead the public again saying that the entire reason was the irrelevance of Macworld. They said they didn't want to give importance to a show that Apple was pulling away from.

Other media, actually only CNBC's Jim Goldman and some followers, railed against Gizmodo saying that Steve's health had nothing to do with him not showing up for the Macworld keynote:

I spoke to Apple after these headlines crossed and the company, which officially doesn't comment on rumours, reiterated the reasons it offered two weeks ago: Apple was pulling out of Macworld because the company didn't see the need to continue its investment in the expo, which included Steve Jobs' keynote.

While I can understand Apple not telling the truth, perhaps a brilliant journalist and blogging aficionado like Goldman should have known better than trusting Apple's VP of Worldwide Corporate Communications Katie Cotton, specially when she lied before. On the other side, coming from a guy who writes things like this:

AppleTV, take two, has a real shot. The power of technology. The power of Apple and Steve Jobs.

Well, I'm not surprised.

Anyway, who cares. I'm happy to know Steve is recovering and happy to know that he's doing fine despite his weight loss and health problems. I'm happy to know that his doctors have discovered the cause now, and he has already begun treatment. I—and everyone at Gizmodo—wish his recovery process goes perfectly well and that this spring he's again in top form.

Update: Apparently Jim Goldman is kind of correcting his previous story on CNBC now. He said that if they he didn't have information that contradicts what Apple is saying, he had to take the company at its word. He's also saying that Steve can be sick but still be able to function as CEO and talking about people who can "easily step in" as CEO: "There are people who can take over, when...if...he decides to leave."

[Macworld 2009 coverage]

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