Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Steve Jobs Probably Dying From Cancer

All of the hullabaloo about Steve Jobs's illness and the way Apple Computer has handled -- or rather, obfuscated it -- are small potatoes compared to the fact that he probably is dying of cancer.

Jobs had pancreatic cancer -- always a grim diagnosis -- and it metastasized. He was operated on for this and became sick again, and was visibly ailing in many public appearances. Eventually, he announced a 6-month leave of absence on false pretenses, hiding the fact that the cancer had returned, having spread to his liver. During this time he had his recent liver transplant and announced plans to return to work by the end of June.

For once I hope I am wrong about what I am blogging, but the chances of the cancer not having spread to other sites besides the liver at the same time it spread to the pancreas seem remote. Also, the chances that "they got all of it" when they removed the liver recently are even more remote.

Cancer surgeons will tell you that the word "cure" is not in their vocabulary. Jobs's case is especially bad. He had cancer in one of the worst sites, the pancreas, and it metastasized to another bad spot. All of the time this was happening, a few mutated cells could have spread anywhere in the body.

Apple investors need to face facts and consider what the untimely loss of Mr. Jobs will mean to a company that relies on spectacular innovations that are basically a one-man show. Mr. Jobs and Apple need to start being honest about his illness with those to whom they have a fiduciary responsibility. He does not have a right to mislead his shareholders about the state of his health. It is not just "his business and nobody else's except his family's." Apple is a definite sell, based on Steve Jobs's prospects for continuing to lead it.

I really hope I am wrong about his outcome.

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