I heard of today's broadcast email by Steve Jobs via a BlackBerry news alert while I was on vacation in Orlando this week. Frankly, I was one of the many who was willing to accept Jobs' answer of a week or so back that he has "a hormone imbalance" under control, and the testimony from his favorite frozen yogurt store that was willing to vouch for his general healthiness.
Well apparently, he doesn't have things under control. And yogurt stores, while purveyors of healthy and tasty frozen lactobacillius-laden dairy treats, aren't oncologists, endocrinologists or nutritional experts. And neither is CNBC's Jim Goldman, either.
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I first said it back in June of last year -- Apple needs to fully address a transition and CEO succession strategy, and make it clear as day who is going to be in charge after Jobs is gone.
I really don't think the "Guys, I'm not feeling so well, I need to take a six month break" strategy is going to work for Apple. For starters, having Tim Cook play stand-in as an interim CEO while everyone continues to speculate on how Jobs is really doing is just going to continue to damage AAPL's market capitalization and send the company into a tailspin. There is only one solution to this problem, which is the one nobody seems to want to accept -- Steve Jobs needs to resign as Chairman and CEO of Apple, immediately.
Also Read: Pondering Apple in a Post-Jobs World
Look, if Steve Jobs really is so unhealthy that he has to go take a six month hiatus, then clearly there are more important things in his life that he should think about than running Apple. If Tim Cook is good enough to be Jobs' stand-in, then let's forego six months of painful speculation and just establish Cook as the new CEO, period. This way, Apple can get back into the business of running an actual business, instead of playing non-stop Steve Jobs mortality spin control machine.
Steve, you've been great for Apple for the past 30 years. The company would have been nothing without your leadership and vision. Now please, go take a well-deserved retirement, and use your wealth for you and your family's own personal enjoyment. And certainly, if you really are deathly ill, then there's more important things you have to deal with and come to terms with than running Apple -- and the company that is your legacy will not benefit by having a CEO in absentia who almost certainly is not coming back.
There's no question that removing Jobs from Apple will be painful. The company will struggle to find its way again. Not having a dynamic and visionary leader such as Jobs may render the company rudderless until his true replacement can be found, if Cook is not the logical successor. But to prolong the inevitable will almost certainly open the company up to litigation as it becomes more and more apparent that the company was not completely forthcoming about the true state of Jobs' health -- something that may very well happen regardless whether Jobs formally abdicates his position by his own will or from forces that are out of his control.
Should Steve Jobs Resign? Talk Back and Let Me Know.