SAN JOSE, Calif. Steve Jobs has announced he will take a medical leave at Apple Inc. until June, just days after publically describing his condition as a minor one that would not interfere with his duties as chief executive. Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, will handle day-to-day issues in his absence.
"Curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well," said Jobs in a letter to Apple employees that the company made public Wednesday (Jan. 14). "In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought," he said.
In a letter released January 5, Jobs described his condition as a "hormone imbalance" that would be addressed by a "relatively simple and straightforward" treatment lasting until late Spring. At that time Jobs and the Apple board said they were confident the iconic executive could continue in his current role.
In taking leave, Jobs put more emphasis on the distraction caused by public concern than his health condition itself.
"In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June," he said. "I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out."
Jobs said the Apple board of directors "fully supports this plan." The board made no independent statement.
Analysts have called for Jobs to be more candid about his health and how it might impact his role as CEO. The company's stock fell four percent in in mid-December on concerns about Jobs' health.