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Gadget blog juices fears over Steve Jobs' health

Gadget blog Gizmodo is causing a stir this afternoon with a new report alleging that Apple has misled the public about the reasons behind its exit from Macworld Expo, claiming Steve Jobs' deteriorating health is to blame for the matter.

The online publication cites a source which has reportedly been "100% correct" when providing information and photographs of unreleased Apple products in the past. This source is now said to have passed on information charging Apple with misrepresenting the reasons behind its pullout from future Macworlds and the cancelation of Jobs' keynote address at next week's show.

"The real cause is his rapidly declining health," the report claims. "In fact, it may be even worse than we ever imagined." An unedited citation from the publication's source reads as follows:

Steves health is rapidly declining. Apple is choosing to remove the hype factor strategically vs letting the hype destroy apple when the inevitable news comes later this spring.

This strategic loss will be less of a bang with investors. This is why MacWorld is a no-go anymore. No more Steve means no more hype. Saying they are no longer needing [MacWorld] is the cover designed by the worldwide "loyalty" department.


Apple declined to comment on the report, which Gizmodo is billing as a rumor that it hopes "is absolutely wrong." Nevertheless, the gadget publication places much of the blame for the reoccurring rumors on the company itself, citing its decision to hold back critical information about the welfare of its chief executive in the past.

A cancer surviver, Jobs underwent successful surgery in 2004 to remove a malignant tumor from his pancreas. Apple, however, remained secretive about the matter until the operation was complete and Jobs sent this email to employees from his hospital bed.

In the years that followed, little concern was expressed over the health of the company luminary given Apple's claims that he had recovered fully from his bout with the deadly disease. Fears were only rekindled with some emphasis early this year when Jobs took the stage at the company's annual developers conference looking uncomfortably frail.

Since then, its been revealed that he underwent a second surgery earlier this year to address a nutrition problem that was contributing to his weight loss. Investor jitters over the matter continued to weigh on Apple shares, however, prompting Jobs to contact the New York Times on his own accord and assure a reporter that the most recent issues were not life threatening and that he did not have a recurrence of cancer.

The subject of who should be privy to information on Jobs' health remains a much debated and dicey subject. While some industry watchers believe the company co-founder's health is a private matter and no one else's business but his own, some Apple investors don't necessarily agree. They say Jobs' sheer value, estimated to be worth more to Apple than any other chief executive in the world, should afford them the right to be informed about material changes to his health.

In a report published last year, financial publication Barron's Magazine suggested that Apple's market cap would instantly bleed $20 billion in value should Jobs abruptly be forced to abandon his leadership role at the company.

Meanwhile, CNBC's Jim Goldman, one of the most outspoken figures on Jobs' health, contacted Apple following Gizmodo's report and was again told that the company's Macworld exit was a result of a trend that has seen the electronics maker scale back on trade show spending and "that the decision had nothing to do with Jobs' health."

"I will say again: if Apple is lying, holding some truth back, manipulating its own stock by manipulating the truth, someone — indeed a lot of people — could be going to jail," he wrote in a piece published just minutes ago. "When Apple's got something material to report, I trust that it will. Meantime, unsourced garbage nuking its shares is just that."

Goldman maintains that Jobs is fine.