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Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Steve Jobs in good health following second surgery - report

Steve Jobs is reassuring some of his closest associates that rumors of his health are greatly exaggerated, but is telling those same people that he underwent a procedure this year related to his weight loss, the New York Times is reporting.

"[In] recent weeks, Mr. Jobs has reassured several people that he is doing well and that four years after a successful operation to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer, he is cancer free," the paper said.

However, the Apple chief executive has reportedly admitted to some of those people that he had a surgical procedure earlier this year to address an issue that was causing him to lose weight.

More specifically, the Times cites unnamed sources who say Jobs has been battling a nutritional problem in the wake of his surgery, which medical descriptions say may lead to weight and energy loss.

Jobs's health has been a renewed focus as of late, particularly on Wall Street, with fund managers and other large Apple investors expressing concern that the company co-founder's cancer may have recently returned.

Much of that fear stemmed from Jobs' gaunt appearance during Apple's developers conference last month and at other recent engagements related to the launch of his firm's new iPhone 3G handset.

Immediately following the conference, an Apple spokesperson said that a "common bug" had left Jobs feeling a little under the weather, but that he was taking antibiotics for treatment.

In its report Wednesday, the Times cited an industry executive who said Jobs ran a high fever in the week leading up to the developers conference and had considered canceling his appearance due to the illness. Ultimately, the chief executive decided to make good on his long-standing commitment to Apple's faithful and personally take the wraps off the company's second-generation mobile handset.

Uncertainty over Jobs's condition came to a head earlier this week when speculative news reports compelled Lehman Brothers analyst Ben Reitzes to respectfully ask Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer to make an official statement on the matter during the company's quarterly conference call.

"Ben, Steve loves Apple," Oppenheimer said. "He serves as the CEO at the pleasure of Apple’s Board and has no plans to leave Apple. Steve’s health is a private matter."

In the two hours surrounding the call, shares of Apple tumbled more than 10 percent. There's a debate, however, about how much of an impact Jobs' health had on the decline, given that Oppenheimer's comments, or lack thereof, on the matter came around the same time he braced analysts for significant declines in the company's gross margin through fiscal 2009.

Jobs, who is keeping his own counsel on the issue of a successor should he ever have to leave the company, is said to have taken a well-deserved vacation this week.