MacWorld Without Steve Jobs

There is no CEO more identified with his company than Steve Jobs, the iCEO of Apple. Since his return to Apple in the mid nineties, he has doubled Apple's penetration of the entire PC market and dominated the high-end market. His creative vision is responsible for the creation of three iconic products: the Mac, iPod, and iPhone.

So it was not surprising that the recent announcement that Steve Jobs would not be speaking at MacWorld 2009 and that Apple itself would not participate in further MacWorlds sent Apple stock reeling. Mac aficionados feared that Steve Jobs pulled out because he is sick again. The abrupt timing of Steve's withdrawal so close to the event itself raised suspicions even more. He did suffer from pancreatic cancer in 2004 and looked gaunt in his last public appearance in June.

The stated reason for the cancellation was that Apple no longer needs Macworld because its website and the Apple stores allow it to reach more of its consumers directly. This did not quiet the Macolytes. They monitor his health more closely than the paparazzi watch Angelina's belly. I do not think that the health of the 72-year-old John McCain while running for the highest office in the land received as much scrutiny.

As with all things celebrity, the media handling of Jobs' health has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. Blogs are buzzing about an okay health report from a worker at Job's regular frozen yogurt shop. New York Times reporter Joe Nocera forced Steve Jobs himself to admit that his virus in June was more serious than his PR staff originally said and then devoted an entire column to the effort. Well respected blogs and CNBC are quoting anonymous sources about the state of his health.

Of course, Steve Jobs could end the speculation by speaking forthrightly about his health, but that is not Job's way. He delayed announcing that he was suffering from life threatening pancreatic cancer even though securities law requires a public company to report material adverse events on a timely basis. He has consistently obfuscated about his health because he believes that his health is nobody's business but his own.