Steve Jobs Speaks

As you’ve probably read by now, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has released a letter concerning his health. It’s fairly short so I’ll quote the whole thing:

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 rumors 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 fulfill 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.


So what should we make of this? Well, for a start, from that “I’m getting to spend the holiday season with my family” I’d imagine this was written a while ago — say, actually during the holiday season, if not before — and if it had been released sooner it would have had the desired effect of dampening the rampant speculation.

Reaction from the Apple Community has been as expected, with choruses of “We told you so” and “Good on Steve for telling everyone else to go f— themselves”. The one dissenting voice so far has come from Dizzle at I Drank the Kool-Aid — who even then only goes as far as calling-out Apple PR over their statement that Jobs’ absence from the Macworld keynote was “more about politics than his pancreas.” This was, as she observes, simply a lie. (Although we can safely assume that they didn’t actually know much more than us when they made the statement, the fact that it was so definite counts against them.)

But what does this statement actually tell us? As Steve notes, the news that Phil Schiller was going to deliver the Macworld keynote “set off another flurry of rumors about [Steve’s] health.” Those rumours were basically that Steve was too ill to present the keynote himself, and as this open letter refuses to acknowledge, those rumours were correct.

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