Today Apple announced that Steve Jobs was taking another leave of absence to focus on his health. Lots of folks are discussing this today – and I'm personally worried more than usual because of the uncanny timing of the announcement.
You see, today the markets are closed for Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday and tomorrow Apple announces its Q1 2011 earnings. The marketing wizards at Apple must know that Steve's health announcement would send the stock dipping but that the earnings news would bring it right back up. To announce today seems like an attempt to mitigate the full reaction in the share price.
Apple hasn't earned any good will in their transparency when sharing Steve's health conditions in the past and today's announcement won't help. Never has there been one man so vital to the success of one company than Steve is to Apple – but that means the Company should go to extraordinary lengths to soothe investor's nerves.
Time will tell if this was good timing or simply a needed break for Mr. Jobs. But one thing is certain: we all wish that Steve gets better soon.
UPDATE: Gizmodo's blog nearly made me cry. And I agree. As someone who worked there for many years and as a person who can define his own life having a thread woven by Apple (my job, my home, and my family have all been touched deeply over the last 30 years by Apple) it is important to realize that Apple isn't just a company or a business. It's an invention, an American success story and a love story all rolled into one. Finding someone who truly loves Apple as much as Steve (or me) will be hard to find.