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Medical Health Disclosure vs. Steve Jobs' Privacy 362

Posted by timothy
from the put-yourself-in-his-turtleneck dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times is saying that Steve Jobs doesn't have cancer, but that he needs to disclose all the information about his medical condition so investors can decide. Gizmodo's strong rebuttal says that everyone has the right to keep medical records confidential. They argue that, if prominent US presidents legally kept their grave illnesses secret — even while the security of the country was at stake — a simple CEO should be able to do the same: 'Steve Jobs has the right to keep his medical records private for as long as he wants. Like FDR. Like JFK. Like any single person in this country and the world. It's our right, as humans, to do so.'"
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Medical Health Disclosure vs. Steve Jobs' Privacy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:36PM (#24361703)

    Everyone else found out about JFK's medical problem the same time he did.

  • by zonky (1153039) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:37PM (#24361711)
    And surely the public/investors in view of a lack of a full disclosure have the right to sack/not elect politicians/CEO's who will not disclose potentially pertinent information about their ability to work in their role.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by langelgjm (860756)

      And surely the public/investors in view of a lack of a full disclosure have the right to sack/not elect politicians/CEO's who will not disclose potentially pertinent information about their ability to work in their role.

      Interesting. So do you suggest that everyone who runs for office really ought to be offering up their medical records for examination by voters?

      • by maxume (22995) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:58PM (#24361857)

        I think maybe he would suggest that people are free to not vote for a candidate based on their refusal to share their medical records.

        • by sveard (1076275)

          which contains the implicit suggestion...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by maxume (22995)

            There is a big difference in believing it is reasonable information to base a decision on and believing that everybody should be able to take the information into account for every vote.

            Sure, if enough people feel that way, it suggests that disclosing your medical records is a reasonable step to take if you are running for office, but it is a whole long ways from requiring it.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday July 28, 2008 @01:25AM (#24364765) Journal

              Well the problem in this case,and I'm not trying to flame here, is that way too many folks in the media and Mac fans have built up this whole "Temple of Steve" thing to the point that i have no doubt that if Steve Jobs was to get killed in a car crash tomorrow that their stocks would take a significant hit. Would it be the end of Apple, Would iLife without the Steve force all the Mac Fans to go running to the Ballmer monkey? Of course not.

              The only way that losing Steve Jobs would kill Apple is if they brought in another clueless suit like Gil [wikipedia.org] to replace him. But of course the stock market is full of those who only think short term so the stock would plummet for awhile. The only way I don't see that happening is if they managed to bring back the Woz to replace him. So while I respect the man's right to privacy,considering the almost mythic status placed upon him by the fans and press I can understand why they would want to know. Of course he is free to tell them to go f*ck themselves,as they wouldn't be stupid enough to try to get rid of Steve. And as always this is my 02c,YMMV

              • by penix1 (722987) on Monday July 28, 2008 @07:15AM (#24366791) Homepage

                Well the problem in this case,and I'm not trying to flame here, is that way too many folks in the media and Mac fans have built up this whole "Temple of Steve" thing to the point that i have no doubt that if Steve Jobs was to get killed in a car crash tomorrow that their stocks would take a significant hit.

                And I would call that a correction in an over valued stock. Any company that is that volatile that their stock would take a significant hit if the CEO were to go tits up is over valued. It means people don't have faith in the company or its products enough to trust the job to anyone else. The high value you are seeing then isn't in the company in that case but instead is in the individual CEO.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by wellingj (1030460)
            Logically you phrased it as: So do you suggest that everyone who runs for office really ought to be offering up their medical records for examination by voters?

            The reply (not by GP..) was: I think maybe he would suggest that people are free to not vote for a candidate based on their refusal to share their medical records.

            To refuse you would have to be asked. I don't think any one needs to ask Obama for his records but McCain (or even Paul who I would rather see as President), most certainly. But if Ob
            • by centuren (106470) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @10:02PM (#24363693) Homepage Journal

              To refuse you would have to be asked. I don't think any one needs to ask Obama for his records but McCain (or even Paul who I would rather see as President), most certainly. But if Obama were to be asked and then refuse, well then that would smell to me.

              If Paul or Obama disclosed medical records when asked, that would "smell" to me more than if they did not. In that situation, I expect a President or Presidential candidate (especially a Libertarian like Paul) to stand firm on the issue of privacy.

              In terms of the head of a private company, regardless of how much one person is perceived to be responsible for the firm's success, I don't see sufficient shareholder reason to warrant disclosure. Even if his records showed he had cancer, it would still just be speculation about his abilities.

              If anything, it seems counter to shareholder interest for him to disclose the records, and as for potential investors, they can invest or not. Jobs works for Apple. If he is a tipping point for someone to invest, well, he might get hit by a truck tomorrow regardless.

              • by perlchild (582235) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @10:42PM (#24363935)

                Hear hear about the truck.

                The individual investor's nervousness(that something might happen to SJ) is caused by their speculation, and not knowing what plans there might be at Apple if something happens to him. I'd say due diligence would be contacting the board about what contingency plans they have in place, not messing with SJ. Worrying about his health is one thing, but they can't do much about it anyways, they just want to know, because, as long as he doesn't tell, they aren't sure they HAVE to think about the contingencies. Whereas the reality is they have to think and plan, for those contingencies nonetheless. Even if he is sick, that doesn't give them any advantage, unless he keels over tomorrow(if the disease has a really fixed timeframe). That this affects the stock is a consequence not of the perceived value of the stock, but the perceived lack of leadership at Apple, outside of SJ. Publishing the contingency plans(which are company documents and should be available to shareholders) is the only thing that makes sense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        False dilemma. Politicians have a right to keep their medical records private _and_ people have the right to not vote for them because of it. You can't force someone to publish their medical records nor can you force someone to vote a particular way despite a candidates decision to keep those records private. Neither right can be curtailed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hoppo (254995)

        I'm not sure how you equate those two scenarios.

        Concerns over Jobs' health have caused a significant and materially negative impact on AAPL. Apple IS Steve Jobs. Every aspect of the company is reflective of his vision. If some illness were to take him out of the company prematurely, the company would suffer adverse effects. As a result, anyone who went out and bought 1000 shares of AAPL is going to be very interested in the health of its visionary/CEO.

        Look, Jobs has every right to say "My health, my bus

    • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:50PM (#24361813) Homepage Journal

      And surely the public/investors in view of a lack of a full disclosure have the right to sack/not elect politicians/CEO's who will not disclose potentially pertinent information about their ability to work in their role.

      There is a difference between CEOs and presidents. You can dump your stock any time you want and reinvest in other companies with other CEOs. But you can't call up your broker and say: "Sell all my Bush, buy Obama at 40", and expect to have a new president.

      • by clang_jangle (975789) * on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:56PM (#24361853) Journal

        But you can't call up your broker and say: "Sell all my Bush, buy Obama at 40", and expect to have a new president.

        I believe that may depend upon the identity behind the pronoun "you" in your statement.

      • by necropsy (1332891) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:22PM (#24362051)
        "If you have nothing to hide, you wont mind if we talk a look around..." ;p
      • by Dahamma (304068) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:38PM (#24362181)

        Actually, these days you almost can [intrade.com]...

      • ... succession plan.

        Presidents have Vice Presidents for a reason. What Apple - indeed ANY company - should have is a succession plan in place to deal with the loss of the CEO (be it medical, accident, insanity, stock option back-dating conviction....)

        Far more important to me as an investor than the CEO's medical records would be the corporate succession plan.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GroovyTrucker (917003)

        Jobs is a private individual. As far as I'm concerned, Jobs can keep all his medical records secret...I'm not a shareholder. If I was, and it made a big enough difference to me to know if he was going to be around to run the company, I'd demand that he disclose information to that effect. Not a bit of difference between that and if he was healthy and had been investing heavily in an intense business rival. That's like a baseball player betting against his own team.

        On the other hand, the President is *MY PRO

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Magada (741361)

        Y'know, that might not be such a bad idea. Already, there are ways for candidates to get money and the one who gets the most money (almost) invariably wins the elections. It already looks like an IPO... Perhaps those who own stock in the winning candidate should get a say in how the country is run? It would look something like a cleptocracy, only it'd be above-board and you'd have the SEC as guardians of the political system. Want a war in Afghanistan? Issue common stock to pay for more tanks. Of course, it

    • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:51PM (#24361819)

      As an investor there are so many other things I'd want disclosed more than health records. I wouldn't personally invest in a company that was that precariously positioned.

      It's either a completely inaccurate argument about Apple or evidence that Apple is absurdly overpriced as a company. I'm not entirely sure which it is, but surely a properly priced company isn't in such a precarious position where one individual getting hit by a bus would crush it the way that the NY Times is suggesting.

      • by aztektum (170569) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:04PM (#24361913)

        Apple stock selling at inflated prices? Next you're going to suggest that their hardware is similarly over priced. That no one [psystar.com] could sell hardware capable of running Mac OSX for less. It's inconceivable! [slashdot.org]

      • by kunwon1 (795332) * <dave.j.moore@gmail.com> on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:18PM (#24362015) Homepage
        It's not Steve Jobs the individual that they're worried about losing, it's his proprietary reality distortion field.
      • by DeadDecoy (877617)
        Ya but Steve Jobs is pretty much the reason why Apple is so successful. He applies his stringent standards of quality and emits the Steve-aura and this makes Apple generate products which appear a notch above the rest. If he did get hit by a bus or cancer, I doubt Apple would be able to maintain the momentum it currently has. Now, while his well-being may drastically affect the well being of the company, I still do not think it is right on any level for stock holders to demand the disclosure of his medical
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:35PM (#24362159) Journal

        Well, I guess PR can occasionally be a two edged sword, and we're kinda seeing the back edge of it now.

        Apple's PR machine is telling everyone that only Steve Jobs matters. X got finished only because The Great Man Steve Jobs yelled at the engineers to get it done already. (Apparently the lazy louts weren't getting anywhere without Him personally throwing tantrums;) Y was tested personally by The Great Man, and because He said where the buttons should go or how loud the volume should go. (Obviously, nobody else figured out usability around those parts;) Z happened only because The Great Man _didn't_ yell at the engineers for a change, and just scared them with his iciest stare. (No, seriously, apparently they weren't getting anywhere before that, and suddenly all was on track afterwards.) Etc.

        The message the ouside world is fed, repeatedly, is that he's the big genius there and everything only happens because of him.

        So, you know, I would worry too if (A) I'd actually believe that, and (B) had any Apple shares.

        It's a bit, you know, like betting a bunch of money on the Sixtine Chapel back then, and then hearing half-way through that Michelangelo is terminally ill. Damn right you'd worry.

        Or a bit as if the Catholic Church announced that God is fed up and everyone up there is moving to another universe as their next project. I'm sure the question would come, "well, without Him, what's the point of staying with this church any more?" ;)

        • Steve Jobs is the brand. This is not without good reason. He is in a position to make style and strategy decisions that bean counters wouldn't otherwise let a company make. Not that he's always right, he's just right often enough that many of the resulting products are cool enough to be hits. Let's face it, someone else might be able to yell at and fire engineers, but most of those guys or gals would be doing it because the engineers developed a product that wouldn't sell to other bean counters. Steve

      • by OakLEE (91103) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @07:32PM (#24362607)

        I wouldn't personally invest in a company that was that precariously positioned... I'm not entirely sure which it is, but surely a properly priced company isn't in such a precarious position where one individual getting hit by a bus would crush it the way that the NY Times is suggesting.

        There are plenty of company's where the CEO's management warrants a premium P/E multiple. If Warren Buffet were to die tomorrow, Berkshire Hathaway's stock would suffer. If Bill Gates had died during the mid 90s, you can bet Microsoft's stock would have cratered. John Chambers (Cisco), Satoru Iwata (Nintendo), Laksmi Mittal (ArcelorMittal), Rupert Murdoch (News Corp.), these are just a few instances where the CEO is basically the franchise. If you want an example of what a bad CEO can do look at Carli Fiorina (HP), Angelo Mozilo (Countrywide), Jimmy Cayne (Bear Stearns), or Hector Ruiz (AMD).

        A CEO (and management in general) is an asset to a company just like a manufacturing plant, cash, or inventory. However, unlike the aforementioned, the value of a company's management cannot be accurately reflected on a Balance Sheet. Instead a CEO's or management's (in)effectiveness if often reflected in the stock price, specifically the premium or discount to which the stock trades compared to its competitors.

        For example, Apple's Forward P/E is currently 30 while Microsoft and Dell are trading at about 18 and 19 respectively. A good portion of that premium is due to the fact that Steve Balmer and Michael Dell are failing at leading their respective companies, while Steve Jobs has done a bang up job at spearheading Apple's product development.

        Now, if you don't want to invest in companies that depend on a key man or group, that's you're prerogative. No risk, no reward. But there are people that do (and from the list above you can see it does pay off), and to them knowing Steve Job's health is an important concern.

        • by Hijacked Public (999535) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @08:05PM (#24362873)

          Yes, human capital and all that.

          All those people who invest based on their estimation of that human capital are welcome to ask for medical records, get told to fuck off, and exercise their prerogative to buy or sell stock accordingly.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by The Man (684)
          If Warren Buffet were to die tomorrow, Berkshire Hathaway's stock would suffer.

          Then I would buy it, because Charlie Munger is just as good and their entire business model has been to buy great businesses with great managers. One or several of those managers will do a fine job of running the place when Warren and Charlie finally kick the bucket.

          Now, if you don't want to invest in companies that depend on a key man or group, that's you're prerogative. No risk, no reward. But there are people that do (a

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fishbowl (7759)

      When everybody on the NYT Board of Directors posts their full medical histories in an NYT op-ed, I will read this article.

    • by MrMarket (983874) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @08:07PM (#24362901) Journal
      New flash: Steve Jobs will not live forever. Invest accordingly.
  • by eclectro (227083) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:38PM (#24361715)

    Steve Job's health records should be burned into the firmware of all new ipods.

    • Of course, then he would have to only go to an apple-certified doctor to access them or he'd void his own warantee...
  • Uh huh ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:38PM (#24361717)
    'Steve Jobs has the right to keep his medical records private for as long as he wants. Like FDR. Like JFK. Like any single person in this country and the world. It's our right, as humans, to do so.

    Sure, sounds great. Someone should tell the insurance companies and medical transcription outfits about that, though. They have no problem spreading our health information all over the goddamn planet.
  • Short (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:40PM (#24361723) Journal

    Steve Jobs issued a very brief press release:

    ! iSick

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:41PM (#24361731) Journal
    Steve Jobs may or may not have cancer. He also may or may not get shot by a crazed Windows fanboy tomorrow. Make the investment in Apple with full knowledge that there is a risk, and estimate what the risk is. Or decide that the risk is too high and don't.

    It's not up to Steve Jobs to make it easy for you!
  • It's personal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheCastro (1329551) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:41PM (#24361733)
    I think that Steve Jobs shouldn't have to reveal or talk about anything personal to his company or investors. "He could die, and our stocks could fall," yeah and he could get hit by a car too; that's the reasoning I see them using. I'm sure you can find other random arguments against secrecy, but seriously, is nothing private anymore? Sure if he suddenly dies of cancer everyone will jump ship, but that's only because no one knows who else can invent things at Apple - they need to put other people on display.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    No surprise. It's the Business section of a newspaper. All the writers are brainwashed into the cult of "maximize returns for the shareholders." Nothing else is allowed to matter.

  • As the personal health history of every single executive of IBM named in their own 10-K is made public.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:47PM (#24361787)

    This is why they say that investing involves risk. There are lots of things you don't know and pretty much have to bet on.

    Let's see these investors disclose all the details about their internal operations first.

    Besides, if Apple can't survive without Steve Jobs, then neither he nor the board is doing their job. Oh, wait, long-term investment... nobody does that any more. Right, sorry, my bad.

    • Let's see these investors disclose all the details about their internal operations first.

      Damn good answer!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gazzonyx (982402)
      Dude, anything past next quarter is considered long term investing these days.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:47PM (#24361793)

    ... health of a single individual, it's probably a bad investment.

    Even if a CEO had cancel or some other health issue, it isn't necessarily going to be debilitating condition. Business and political leaders can be skating at the edge of death, but they can still be good leaders.

  • I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Steve, you're no Jack Kennedy. Besides, we all know its a gigantic growth on his ego gland, he has been hiding it behind turtle necks for years.
  • Public? (Score:4, Funny)

    by codepunk (167897) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:56PM (#24361855)

    How many of you take the insurance discount at work for submitting to a health screening? About two
    years ago I had a HR weenie harping on me to take the screening for the discount...up until the point
    I told him to pack sand. Right about the time that was going on was when I got notified from the VA
    that my medical records had been stolen.

    Hell I would not tell my own wife or employer much less the public.

    No Steve you should not tell anyone, it is none of their business.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gb506 (738638)

      "Hell I would not tell my own wife or employer much less the public."

      You wouldn't tell your own wife about your medical history? Not only is that whack on the face of it, what happens if you're overseas on vacation and require medical assist, the med professionals don't have access to your records, and give you improper meds, or something similar? Seems foolish to risk that kind of thing just to hide the fact that your nuts didn't descend until a year before you met her...

  • by codeonezero (540302) * on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:59PM (#24361873)

    Given the amount of time Jobs has been back at Apple, and proof of his long term planning strategies (Think OSX86 since 2002 or so? someone remind me), shouldn't investors be looking at Apple for more such long term strategies already underway instead of simply basing their decision on Jobs alone?

    I know Jobs is a victim of his own success, with everyone wanting to pry into his private life to see if the "second coming" of Apple will end with him or not. But surely anyone paying attention to what Apple has been doing can use that information to make smart investment decisions instead of basing it all on one man?

    There are some very talented people at Apple from what I've seen (people I've met who work at corporate on iphone dev, macosx dev, , etc). I would be surprised if Jobs didnt put in place project leads and managers with vision to supplement or augment his own.

    Remember this is not like when Jobs got kicked out because Apple needed to "grow up" and Jobs being ousted as the "not grown up enough" element in the company. He's proven himself very capable of getting very good people together to accomplish the projects and goals in mind.

    Personally, I feel that if Jobs stepped down Apple could continue to do quite well. Several years ago, I wouldn't be so sure. I'd sure be interested in someone put some time into evaluating possible choices to take over Jobs job :)

  • by monktus (742861) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:00PM (#24361885)
    ...next they'll be trying to tell us Reality Distortion Fields cause cancer!
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:01PM (#24361889) Homepage

    I'm not sure I know what is or isn't owed to the public in the way of medical disclosure, but it's inappropriate to single out Apple and Steve Jobs as if they were an egregious case. Holding back adverse medical information about CEOs, or "spinning" it to minimize it, is par for the course.

    One example which comes to mind is the diagnosis of Dr. An Wang with esophageal cancer. Dr. Wang was at least as important to Wang Laboratories, Inc. as Steve Jobs is to Apple, and esophageal cancer is a very dangerous form of cancer.

    But when Dr. Wang failed to make a scheduled appearance to address a meeting of the Boston Computer Society, a company representative explained that he was suffering from "a sore throat."

    A quick database check of The Boston Globe indicates that his true condition was not disclosed until March 9, 1990, sixteen days before his death on March 25th, even though he had had surgery for his cancer eight months earlier. Indeed, it can be said that it was not even disclosed on March 9th, as a Wang spokesperson was quoted as saying "The diagnosis of his present condition is not available at this time."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fishbowl (7759)

      >I'm not sure I know what is or isn't owed to the public in the way of medical disclosure

      I'm quite sure I know.

      His medical information is private for the same reason yours is. It really is that simple: Either he has a right to this privacy or YOU DON'T.

      But you do have that right. End of story. For a slashdot crowd, people sure do seem quick to want to abridge rights.

  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:01PM (#24361891)

    Gizmodo's strong rebuttal says that everyone has the right to keep medical records confidential.

    While this may be true, it does not naturally follow that exercising a right should have no negative consequences, such as a fall in the price of a security. A "right" in this sense pertains to the force of law, not a public relations disaster within the investment community.

    I mean, Steve is free to keep his personal secrets, and I'm free not to buy stock in his company. His business is his business, but my business is my business too, and if I'm investing in his company, our businesses overlap. How could this possibly be redressed? What possible legal remedy could compel me to invest in companies without (rather stupidly) taking possibly unhealthy CEOs into account? Tax breaks?

    People don't understand what a right is. It doesn't mean nothing bad is legally allowed to happen if you make a choice you are entitled to make. A right circumscribes the limits of legislation. And no law is forcing Steve Jobs to expose his medical history, nor does any corporation or individual have the power to legally force him to release this information. Apple cannot cite stock price losses as damages. They are also not required to present his health information to any outside entity, in accordance with his legal rights to protect that information. But I don't see where they are. He's reacting to negative articles and political developments both inside and outside his company, and his legal rights have nothing to do with these things.

    He does have an informal "right" to be sick without people reacting to his secrecy about it. But this is not a right in a legal sense, because violating it is not a criminal act any more than just being a jerk.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:05PM (#24361917)
    The interesting thing here is what difference it would make. If SJ did decide to take a lesser role (whether or not for health reasons), why should that make any difference to the fate of the company?

    Is Apple's commercial value due to one talented leader and millions of drones?

    • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:16PM (#24361997) Homepage Journal

      Any charismatic CEO/founder is in effect 'the company' as far as public perception goes.

      Its part of the curse.

    • If it is, and that person is the CEO, then there are bigger problems for the investor. If the CEO does not delegate and the company does not have a succession plan, there are definitely bigger problems.

      What if the CEO dies suddenly in an accident? Do you really want to invest in a company that is so reliant upon one person that an accident would adversely impact its value?

      No, Steve Jobs should not have to reveal any medical information about himself. Yes, Steve Jobs should make sure a succession plan is

  • by NuKeLiTe (418)

    It's our right, as humans, to do so.

    No when you are a public figure and so much people (users and investors, depends on you.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      You still have the right, however irresponsible applying that right to the people who depend on you.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:15PM (#24361987) Homepage Journal

    But the stock holders also have the right to bail out due to rumors.

    Steve has to decide which is more important to him, privacy or stockholders.

    If i had his bank account, i think id choose privacy.

  • Off the record ??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:15PM (#24361991) Journal

    From TFA:

    After that rather arresting opening, he went on to say that he would give me some details about his recent health problems, but only if I would agree to keep them off the record.

    ...

    Suffice it to say that I didn't hear anything that contradicted the reporting that John Markoff and I did this week. While his health problems amounted to a good deal more than "a common bug," they weren't life-threatening and he doesn't have a recurrence of cancer

    This particular slime-ball obviously uses some definition of "off the record" that I am unaware of.

    Simon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dhalka226 (559740)

      This particular slime-ball obviously uses some definition of "off the record" that I am unaware of.

      Personally, I suspect he did exactly what Steve Jobs wanted him to do. If you're truly keeping your health situation completely secret, and don't want any non-specific but somewhat calming details flittering out, you don't tell a reporter "oh sure, let's talk about it! Just don't print it!" You simply say "I'm sorry, that's personal and I'm not interested in discussing it." I'm sure he's said that a millio

  • I'm suffering from Apple News Overload...

    If Steve grew a fourth testicle, could bend spoons with his mind, and released another iPhone from his rectum, I don't think I would read the news story.

    And just to beat you all to the punch:

    "Rectum? Damn near killed him!"

  • Steve Jobs has the right to keep his medical records private for as long as he wants. Like FDR. Like JFK.

    Who says they had any such right, especially FDR who knew perfectly well he was dying? They simply DID it, with collusion from the press...and if FDR's brain had blown out twelve weeks earlier, there would have been no Cold War. The Russians wouldn't have needed one.

    rj

  • Unless his contract says otherwise. And no investor should be stupid enough to hold Apple shares while he does so.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @07:19PM (#24362485) Homepage Journal
    to make money for other people. Steve Jobs is not a financial 'asset' that needs to let go of his own persona for some people who put money in that corporation to make assured bucks. or, u.s. citizens are not born into this world to make sure that the faggots who feed RIAA makes money. Being born is not an indentured slavery contract to public or to individuals.

    if you want to make money, go make it. if you dont like not knowing a CEO's health status, DONT FUCKING INVEST IN THAT CORPORATION.

    and, IF YOU STILL DID, SHUT THE HELL UP. what goes on past steve's shirt, trousers, whatever he is wearing, IS HIS BUSINESS. sell your shitty stock if you are worried that your precious bucks gonna fly away.

    and im no apple fan ...
  • by Phurge (1112105) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @07:27PM (#24362555)
    This issue highlights one of the key differences between US style rules based corporate legislation and UK based principles based legislation. In the UK the test would be - is there material information affecting the comapany's prospects that a director or director(s) are aware of? - if so it must be disclosed.

    whereas in the US, you don't have a specific regulation covering this situation, so Steve can get away without coming clean. So in the absence of a specific regulation, most of the chatter is trying to turn this into a moral issue - which it isn't. There's something that could materially affect the share price - and being so should be disclosed.

    (of course my above two paragraphs assume the presence of Steve Jobs as being material to Apple. I begrudingly admit that may be so. He is a grade A asshole, but he has managed to produce outrageous margins from flogging shiny trinkets.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Trojan35 (910785)

      whereas in the US, you don't have a specific regulation covering this situation, so Steve can get away without coming clean. So in the absence of a specific regulation, most of the chatter is trying to turn this into a moral issue - which it isn't. There's something that could materially affect the share price - and being so should be disclosed.

      1) You make Jobs sound like a criminal and is "getting away" with being sick. Seriously?

      2) This is not a "material contract" or "material obligation", it's someone's medical records. So basically, if the company decides that I'm a material asset, should my medical records be publicly disclosed in the 10k? What about that time I got caught smoking pot in '75? That could indicate that I have a serious drug problem and should probably be disclosed as well. This is stupid.

      Seriously. I think you misrepresented

  • Grooming a successor (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Sunday July 27, 2008 @07:47PM (#24362719) Homepage

    If Jobs really was suffering from a terminal illness, I would expect to see him grooming a successor. To the tune of, having someone else up on stage with him, so that if/when he decided to/needed to retire, the transition to the new figurehead would be smooth. I don't really pay any attention to the speculation about Jobs' health, because I am pretty sure that until we see him grooming a successor, he isn't planning on going anywhere.

    Of course, I also pay no attention whatsoever to his presentations and press conferences, so I have no idea whether or not he actually *is* grooming a successor. But given that no one ever seems to talk about any personality at Apple besides Jobs, I feel pretty confident with the assumption that he is not.

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @09:32PM (#24363503)

    I'm a cancer survivor, two different cancers and a relapse, and I've survived a hemorrhage in my brain *and* a non cancerous tumor in my neck. And I understand Steve Jobs desire to keep things quiet.

    I don't think that illnesses in anyone, even public officials, should be public knowledge.

  • by PhotoGuy (189467) on Monday July 28, 2008 @12:14AM (#24364423) Homepage

    In my opinion, Jobs' value to the company is pretty damn hard to measure... But like most risks in corporations, it's up to the management of the company to manage such risks. If there is a risk of Jobs' health removing him from the role, they should have appropriate key man insurance, and a plan, to mitigate that risk as much as possible.

    While the value of Apple's corporate executives is seen (rightly or wrongly) as highly centralized around Jobs, many other companies have policies to mitigate risk between their management. When I ran a major photo sharing in the .COM bubble days, two of the top two folks at Kodak came to court us (well, at least pump us for information, it turned out.) They had to take separate Lear Jets to our city; they weren't allowed to fly on the same plane, in case of an incident. Many companies have similar policies that so many board members or senior management can't fly on the same plane.

    I can understand investors' concern about Jobs. However, he doesn't seem that bad to me, and I'm sure top dollars are being put into every health concern he may have. I do have mixed feelings about the disclosure issue. In the case of most companies, where the perceived management talent is spread among several folks, the illness or death of one has less of an impact as compared to Apple, where the perceived management direction comes from one man.

    And given how the company floundered without him, and regained its direction with his return, there might just be something to that. Perhaps because of this, Apple does owe some more details of Jobs personal status to its investors. As an investor, I would personally have a lot less confidence in Apple without Steve's strong vision at the helm.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein

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