The prankster who posted an amateur citizen's report that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a major heart attack earlier this month has been identified as a teenager who possibly did not post the report for financial gain. The identity of the 18-year-old prankster was not known, though a Bloomberg report that cites two unnamed sources, refers to the prankster as a "he."
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the motives of the teenager to see if market manipulation was at play but so far have not found such evidence, according to the Bloomberg report. Shortly after the Oct. 3 report appeared on CNN's unfiltered and unedited iReport site, a forum for regular folks to post news items, shares of Apple immediately tumbled but largely recovered after the company quickly responded that the report was untrue.
Wall Street had already been nervous about the health of Jobs - and how it might impact the company. Jobs’ health has been a topic of conversation for several months, following an appearance at a Spring conference where Jobs looked gaunt. In a call with analysts in July, the company was asked about a New York Post report that questioned whether Jobs was suffering complications from, or a reappearance of, the pancreatic cancer cured by surgery nearly four years ago. (The company responded that Jobs’ health was a private matter.)
Then, in late August, Bloomberg accidentally published a pre-written obituary for Jobs.
In September, when Jobs took the public stage again to announce the newest line of iPod, he paused for a moment to poke fun at news events. As he stood on the stage, the screen behind him flashed the infamous Mark Twain quote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” And last week, when Apple hosted another event to announce changes to the Macbook lineup, joked that his blood pressure is 110/70 and that he would answer no other questions about his health.