The Two Issues Behind Steve Jobs’ Health

I will be covering this in more detail in tomorrow’s issue of the SNS Technology Letter (at ) .  But I thought there should be more public conversation about these two aspects of this well-covered, but poorly analyzed, issue.

The first, and most important issue is Steve’s actual health condition.  What was last described as a “hormonal imbalance” or something like it, now looks a good deal like liver cancer.

If Steve has / had liver cancer, it opens a new vista of medical questions which he should be discussing now, as CEO.  So should the media, so, get with it, kids.

Second, on the legal side: I have never heard so much BS in my life, as has been written in the last week about why it was perhaps OK for Apple’s board not to share this information with shareholders and the public. 

The test, according to the SEC, is simple: if information would affect an investor’s decision to purchase (or sell) shares, it is material and should be disclosed.

Since anyone who went through the non- Steve Apple years knows that there simply is no Apple without Steve, the fact of his liver transplant, and if so, of his new cancer, are life- and company-threatening.  There is no fancy dancing about taking a leave that would remove the obligation to tell investors that the only person who could run the company at length was in jeopardy.

The Apple board has now broken the law, twice: first, over the options deal with Steve; and now, this. 

While Steve is great at making products, this board, and this company, suck at obeying the law, and at modern governance.  They have put their shareholders at unknown risk, and themselves personally.

The media should stop quoting doctors and lawyers who don’t understand the above, and write one good story about the real risks all have just experienced, and may be continuing to experience, no thanks to Steve or Apple.

I am Very glad Steve is surviving to date, and hope it goes on for a long time; he is the greatest living product genius in technology.  But he does not play well with others.