Apple have had an incredible year, breaking all sales records and currently hold more money than the US government. Behind the scenes however, Steve Jobs is still technically, on medical leave.
Jobs took leave over six months ago, trying to distance himself a little from the everyday processes within the company. In reality however he has been active from his home, holding conferences and making the major decisions.
He has even appeared at public events, to speak about the iPad 2 and has attended private events, such as a dinner with US president Obama.
Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer has taken control of various aspects of the business, and this has certainly not damaged sales figures or the current market status.
Joel Achramowicz, an analyst with Blaylock Robert Van spoke to the MercuryNews “Apple’s dealing with this situation in their own unique manner, Cook is the operating executive, but Steve Jobs is still involved. It’s an unconventional approach. With other companies, you might expect the board to require the CEO to take a true and complete leave of absence. Not here. But then, Apple’s just being Apple.”
Steve Jobs however is still battling health issues, after undergoing a liver transplant a couple of years ago. This was after a prior operation in 2004 when he had surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer.
When Jobs left for medical leave he sent an open letter to all Apple employees which said he would remain as CEO and would still be involved in major strategic decisions. As far as we can tell, this has not changed.
As Jobs took medical leave, the industry was concerned that Apple might start to suffer in the market, but the management team have covered his absence with record performance figures in the last year.
Tim Bajarin, with Creative Strategies said “I don’t think you can draw too much from the length of the absence, We saw him at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and to me he looked the same as he did in March when he introduced the iPad 2. I think the process he’s going through is recuperative, which means he probably needs to be more at home and less physically active. But I don’t believe that’s diminished his role in any way.”
According to Bajarin, Jobs is ‘virtually’ at Apple on a regular basis as he liases with Tim Cook and the upper management team “They tell me he calls in regularly. He talks to Tim, he talks to the top guys, he talks about the Apple stores, But while he used to micromanage everything in ways that most CEOs would not, right down to issues with the company cafeteria, the big change with his latest leave is that there’s less micromanagement and more management of his executive team and the big-picture issues.”
Kitguru says: So far the remote management system seems to work, but we wonder how Apple would function without Jobs making the critical decisions.