Latest Macworld rumor grist: Jobs' health

Latest Macworld rumor grist: Jobs' health

Summary: While the tech world is talking about Apple tablet PCs, iPhones and such ahead of Macworld, Wall Street rumors are percolating about Steve Jobs' health. In a blog post recapping 10 things he's hearing on Wall Street, Doug Kass, a general partner for two investment partnerships: Seabreeze Partners L.

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TOPICS: Apple
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While the tech world is talking about Apple tablet PCs, iPhones and such ahead of Macworld, Wall Street rumors are percolating about Steve Jobs' health.

In a blog post recapping 10 things he's hearing on Wall Street, Doug Kass, a general partner for two investment partnerships: Seabreeze Partners L.P. and Seabreeze Partners Short L.P., notes a rumor that:

"Apple (AAPL) will announce that Steve Jobs' health has deteriorated (he has had pancreatic cancer) and that he will be taking a leave of absence from the company." Update: See note on this quote at end of post.

That tidbit is on RealMoney Silver, which is a pay site, so the link will only work for subscribers and those interested in subscribing.

I'd stress a few points: 

1. Whether the rumor is legit or not will be known as soon as Jobs take the stage;

2. The rumor could be something circulated by short sellers, those who bet against stocks. Shorts have been shellacked by Apple shares of late;

3. Nevertheless, it's an interesting tidbit to be floating ahead of MacWorld;

4. Kass has no positions in Apple.

So take Jobs health rumor for what it's worth--and a big grain of salt.

Meanwhile, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster breaks out his crystal ball for Macworld in a research note and ranks the certainty on a scale of 1 to 10. Here they are:

Almost Certain within 6 months:

1. iPhone entering production phase of 12 million units (Certainty rank: 9 out of 10);
2. iTV ($299) release at Macworld with some improvements from the September debut (10 out of 10);

Likely (in the next 6-12 months):

3. iPhone with candy-bar form factor (9 out of 10);
4. Widescreen iPod with touch-sensitivity and wireless features (7 out of 10);
5. Second smartphone iPhone model with integrated keyboard (7 out of 10);
6. iSight camera, 4GB or 8GB storage on the iPhone (6 out of 10);
7. Multiple carriers as iPhone providers (vs. Cingular only or MVNO (6 out of 10);

A Stretch (a year to 18 months away):

8. Ultra-portable 12" MacBook Pro (4 out of 10);
9. Radio-transparent material used for iPhone casing (3 out of 10). This is very interesting as Munster opines that iPod casings would make poor mobile phone casings. In other words, Apple has to find casings that would better allow radio waves to penetrate the exterior of an Apple phone.

10. iPhone featuring 'iChat Mobile' video and instant messaging (2 out of 10);

11. OSX 10.5 Leopard release at Macworld (3 out of 10).

Addendum: As pointed out by a reader in Talkback, the quote has been altered by TheStreet.com. The original quote from the RealMoney Silver blog, which is the unedited Kass has (see screenshot):

"Apple (AAPL) will announce that Steve Jobs' health has deteriorated (he has had pancreatic cancer) and that he will be taking a leave of absence from the company."

TheStreet.com, the free sister site that picked up the Kass post and ran it as a column, edited the quote to: 

"Apple will announce that Steve Jobs will be taking a leave of absence from the company."
I have no idea why the quote was edited on TheStreet.com as Kass was relaying the unvarnished rumor circulating. The initial quote about the rumor is still on RealMoney Silver. 

 

Topic: Apple

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21 comments
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  • I hope this is a false one

    Steve is the heart and soul of that company that pushes things forward. He is the reason that it made it this far and was also responsible for the fall when he was fired.
    nucrash
    • shorts shorts shorts

      I would be extremely suprised if Steve did this at Macworld, after all he has worked on to bring Apple back. Author is dead on, short sellers making a desperate attempt to come back from their losses.
      jeremy.callinan@...
    • Those who fired him are responsible

      for apple's down turn not Steve. IMO.
      mrlinux
      • They had no choice

        If you followed the industry back then you would understand why they had no choice: he wasn't the right man for the job at that point in time, he was destroying the company.

        That's not to say he isn't the right man now, as X amount of years later, everybody involved learned new things about both the industry they are in and business practices in general, thougH at this point in time, I don't think he is the innovative driving force many Apple aficionado would claim him to be.

        He is now the guy who has the "been there, done that, what else have we got" experience.
        John Zern
        • On a side note

          I think he had a cancerous groth removed a few years back, so a scare tactic story like this could ring as true to some people.
          John Zern
          • Yes-scare tactic

            He had pancreatic cancer, and was completely cured of it in 2004 after an operation.
            His (rare) form was of the type that is actually 100% curable, unlike the majority of
            cases. This FUD is likely just a scare tactic by unscrupulous Wall Street traders trying
            to terrorise investors out of the stock so they can short it down lower and profit from
            the decline.
            Tommo_uk
  • Cancer FUD?

    I just read the original article over at thestreet.com and it just says "1. Apple (AAPL -
    commentary - Cramer's Take) will announce that Steve Jobs will be taking a leave of
    absence from the company."

    That's it.

    Where the hell is any reference to pancreatic cancer??!
    Tommo_uk
    • You're right--maybe it was edited

      I'm looking at the original post on RealMoney Silver which mentions it and what TheStreet.com picked up. Looks like it was edited when TheStreet.com picked up. Will update the post to reflect the differences.
      Larry Dignan
      • included screenshot

        to show the original post. Also added an addendum to note the differences. Changes the meaning quite a bit.
        Larry Dignan
        • Feedback from TSC?

          Interesting they'd edit this! It was a "rumour" after all - did Apple Legal come down
          on them, or did they decide it was just too tasteless a rumour for even a stock
          trading website to carry?
          Did you get any feedback from them?
          Tommo_uk
  • Of course

    nobody wants to hear anything bad about Steve Jobs.

    But onto the product lines predicted. I'm wondering if branding everything you sell with the small letter "i" is all that smart in the long run? Say one product has a real problem or turns users off somehow. Quite possible with tech gadgets, even for Apple. Wouldn't all those that owned that product get a bad taste in their mouth for "i" products in general, even though the rest of the field may be fine? I think it's a risk to use this convention. IMHO.
    xuniL_z
  • Any chance...

    there are other reasons Steve would be taking a LOA?

    I seriously hope it's not the case and I don't mean to make light of anyone's health issues, but this rumor tends to coincide with the recent backdating scandal.

    I guess I'm just used to politicians and Hollywood using "personal issues" to deflect the attention away from their discretions.
    jshaw4343
  • Good news: the guy who did/do $billion harm to Apple is in good health (NT)

    (NT)
    Vily Clay
    • 1000% Good For Shareholders

      Yes, good news: the guy responsible for increasing the value of Apple's shares by a
      stunning 1000% (no typo - that's 1000% not 100%) in just 5 years and increasing
      sales by 400-500% in just 3 years is in good health. You're problem with Steve Jobs
      is what exactly... that he was bad for shareholders? Lol...
      Tommo_uk
      • Let's start: giving up trade secrets to your deadliest competition - ...

        ... how much does it cost?
        Vily Clay
  • Microsoft is sucking your money and their warez sucks big time!

    Note: MS would make ZERO dollars if it were not for forced installs on OEM machines. MS is going down!
    nomorems
    • Oh Look. A cut and paste artist

      I saw this exact post in two other forums today.

      I guess you're just scared at the thought of Apple starting their "Going out of Business Sale" so soon...
      John Zern
      • FUD scare

        No, I'm scared of FUD like this impacting AAPL's share price, like other hysterical
        stories have in the last few weeks. What's wrong with that?
        Tommo_uk
    • What's your deal

      Life deal you a bad hand or something? You sound like your on the verge of going postal.
      Forced installs. Explain that to me. What does that mean? Who else has an OS they are trying to sell to the OEMs that Microsoft is holding back? Where are your facts? Do you understand how capitalism works? Has Apple tried to strike a deal with the OEMs to preload O$X and forego using it's own hardware only?? When the hell did that happen.
      xuniL_z
  • Completely tasteless and thoughtless

    What is the matter with you people at ZDNet?

    You act like the worst kind of supermarket tabloid.

    How would each of you personally feel to read speculation on your own ill health?

    Or have your family read it?
    Narr vi