Plain speaking about Steve Jobs

From Mark Anderson.

The first, and most important issue is Steve’s actual health condition. What was last described as a “hormonal imbalance” or something like it, now looks a good deal like liver cancer.

If Steve has / had liver cancer, it opens a new vista of medical questions which he should be discussing now, as CEO. So should the media, so, get with it, kids.

Second, on the legal side: I have never heard so much BS in my life, as has been written in the last week about why it was perhaps OK for Apple’s board not to share this information with shareholders and the public.

The test, according to the SEC, is simple: if information would affect an investor’s decision to purchase (or sell) shares, it is material and should be disclosed.

Since anyone who went through the non-Steve Apple years knows that there simply is no Apple without Steve, the fact of his liver transplant, and if so, of his new cancer, are life- and company-threatening. There is no fancy dancing about taking a leave that would remove the obligation to tell investors that the only person who could run the company at length was in jeopardy.

The Apple board has now broken the law, twice: first, over the options deal with Steve; and now, this.

While Steve is great at making products, this board, and this company, suck at obeying the law, and at modern governance. They have put their shareholders at unknown risk, and themselves personally.

Yep. Couldn’t have put it better myself.

LATER: Warren Buffett takes much the same line:

“Certainly Steve Jobs is important to Apple,” Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said in an interview today on CNBC. “Whether he is facing serious surgery or not is a material fact.”


“If I have any serious illness, or something coming up of an important nature, an operation or anything like that, I think the thing to do is just tell — the Berkshire shareholders about it. I work for them,” said Buffett, 78. “They’re going to find out about it anyway, so I don’t see a big privacy issue or anything of the sort.”