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Apple Disclosures About Jobs To Face SEC Review

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the they-really-hate-turtlenecks dept.

The Almighty Buck 187

suraj.sun writes "US regulators are examining Apple Inc.'s disclosures about Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs's health problems to ensure investors weren't misled, a person familiar with the matter said. The Securities and Exchange Commission's review doesn't mean investigators have seen evidence of wrongdoing, the person said, declining to be identified because the inquiry isn't public. Bloomberg News reported last week that Jobs is considering a liver transplant as a result of complications after treatment for cancer, according to people who are monitoring his illness."

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187 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546691)

first post

Seems like... (2, Insightful)

Jonah Bomber (535788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546693)

A corporation is bigger than just one man.

leave steve alone! (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547095)

Just leave him alone! He's suffered enough, can't you all see that. Just leave the poor guy alone.

In any case, this SEC thing seems sort of silly. The SEC while it has the power to abusively coerce responses, techincally Jobs is just he CEO, not a golden child. How can his health issues be any more important than those of head of tupperware or American Toyota, who's name you don't know.

Is it because you know his name that makes his health techincally relevant? Then what about some who's names you do know, like Jack Welch, or Larry Ellison. Should they have been given annual public proctology exams since that's a high cancer risk for men their ages?

Sure the cult of Steve is an importnat phenomena to apple, but it's not a techincal criteria that I can see. It's not like Apple is somehow misrepresenting it's products or it's book value or it's liabilities to it's shareholders.

So what does the SEC have to argue here.

Re:leave steve alone! (5, Funny)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547193)

Yeah! What's the problem with a company trying to keep their Jobs?
Oh, wait...

Re:leave steve alone! (3, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547239)

I have nothing to say against Jobs or even particularly against Apple, but if shareholders are so stupid as to throw money into a company on the basis of hype surrounding one personality, I can't say I am overwhelmed with sympathy if they lose every cent.

Re:leave steve alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26547801)

Agreed.

Retirement, illness or falling piano, one way or another, eventually he's going to leave Apple. If his presence is make or break for the company, investors are doing little more participating in a pool to guess the date when it happens so that they can get out just before.

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548565)

I have nothing to say against Jobs or even particularly against Apple, but if shareholders are so stupid as to throw money into a company on the basis of hype surrounding one personality, I can't say I am overwhelmed with sympathy if they lose every cent.

To be fair, Steve Jobs did save the company back in early 2000's since most of us in the computer world had written off Apple as on their death bed back then.

Secondly, he isn't the only company that has such a cult that keeps shareholder's invested. Warren Buffet with Halthway Berkshire (sp?) come's to mind.

And those are people who pay $150,000 per share.

Re:leave steve alone! (5, Informative)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547249)

If Apple's disclosures were an attempt to influence stock prices, then it would matter. The SEC just seems to be watching for fraud like stock manipulation. That is their job, after all.

Re:leave steve alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548177)

It would be particularly boneheaded for anyone in the loop about Steve's real health problems. My guess is anyone at Apple that moved a significant amount of stock in the last year will be looked at by the SEC for insider trading.

Re:leave steve alone! (5, Insightful)

_LORAX_ (4790) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547421)

Like it or not the stock price is linked to Steves Health. This is for several reasons, none of which the SEC cares too much about.

If Steve or the board, knowingly, withheld information they knew would have a negative ( or positive ) impact on the stock price would be breaking SEC regs.

It's not specifically about his health, but the fact that his health has a material effect on the stock price and therefore investors have a right to know enough information to make informed investment decisions. It's one of the basic requirements for a free market.

Re:leave steve alone! (1, Insightful)

IcyNeko (891749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547643)

Wrong.

While Jobs's efforts have saved the company from a downward spiral, that doesn't mean that it's all on him. The executive team has hopefully learned from Jobs such that if he were to go, they could carry on. the concept of a legacy. Stocks should be based on actual production and sales, not on the health of one man. Whomever is driving this needs to not be working anymore, because it's just sensationalism.

Oh, and Steve Jobs's medical record is protected by HIPAA. So sure, SEC/Stockholders/Media Idiots can moan and whine about wanting to know, but if he chooses not to share it, they won't get it.

Sure, someone can leak it out. Then that someone will find themselves unemployed and most likely sued into submission.

Re:leave steve alone! (4, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547949)

While Jobs's efforts have saved the company from a downward spiral, that doesn't mean that it's all on him.

The parent never claimed it did. He said Apple's stock price is tied to Jobs' health. And it is. Go to Google Finance, look at the news links on Apple's stock charts. You'll see a price drop after any negative story about Jobs' health. Whether Apple would be fine without him or not is completely irrelevant.

Re:leave steve alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548205)

Not correct. If you go to google finance, you'll see pretty much random behavoiur after every announcement.

At the last one, the stock was going down well before he announced his leave, so that cannot be credited for the drop.

Re:leave steve alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548343)

Correction, the stock price is tied to the "speculation" of Jobs' health. A company doesn't have to comment just because people are trading on speculation.

I think the issue now is that since Apple decided to comment about his health they're liable if they directly misled shareholders. If they just kept quiet then there would not be an issue.

Re:leave steve alone! (3, Insightful)

orlanz (882574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548019)

That is incorrect.

The most recent value (not current value) of a company is dependent on "actual production and sales" among other things. The stock price is the net present value of the company as per the consensus of all the buyers and sellers of the stakes in the company. The later is reality, and it actually makes more sense than the former.

The shareholders, etc. of Apple have no right to Jobs' health records. HIPAA or otherwise. BUT, take this scenario: Jobs puts out that he is sick for 10 days. Rumors fly around and the price drops. He buys up a ton of stock, and then puts out a press release that states that he is in perfect health. The stock shoots up, and he makes a ton. Now, he better be sick those 10 days else, the shareholders have a valid lawsuit for the profits that Jobs made. The fact that his health shouldn't have dropped the stock is a different issue. Same if the scenario was reversed and he (or other parties) shorted.

The SEC doesn't care about Jobs actual health. They care that the image being presented to the public is factual. He maybe in the hospital a 3rd time for heart surgery, no one needs to know that, but their business continuity plan better have a section about who takes over if he kicks the bucket.

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

pxuongl (758399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548739)

jobs is noticeably thinner than he was a couple years ago.

i highly doubt Jobs is starving himself to manipulate the stock market

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

everett (154868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547735)

I fail to see how information regarding a person's health can in any way be construed as belonging in the public domain. Health care and issues relating to such are about as private as personal information can be. Saying that the stock holder's have a right to know about Steve Jobs' most personal/private happenings is absurd to say the least.

Therefore, it is my opinion that Apple has no obligation to disclose anything regarding Steve's health, positive or negative, as it is confidential personal information.

Re:leave steve alone! (2, Informative)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547837)

But they *do* have to disclose the fact that there's a significant chance that he'll be stepping down. They don't have to say: he has liver cancer, but they do have to say: he may have to step down because of health problems.

Re:leave steve alone! (3, Interesting)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548127)

re: medical privacy - correct.

Problem is they lied and denied his condition. There's a difference between saying nothing - and pushing out misinformation to manipulate stocks. That's a no-no.

Re:leave steve alone! (0, Redundant)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547845)

I agree with Icy and everett. The people who run companies have no obligation to release the status of their health. If they are physically unable to run the company effectively, they should step down, but that's a matter for the shareholders and the board.

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

pxuongl (758399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548705)

so what's next? do all executives for all companies now also have to file quarterly reports on: 1)what they eat 2)how often they sneeze 3)their food allergies 4)how often they exercise 5) etc.... if i were to run a decently profitable business, i'd do everything i could to not trade my company publicly.

Re:leave steve alone! (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547433)

I suspect that they are interesting in the possibility that apple lied about jobs' health, not in his health per se. As TFA notes, apple is not obliged to disclose anything about jobs' health; but they decided to do so anyway. If they were lying about it, that would be an issue.

Re:leave steve alone! (2, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547971)

Ding, ding ding. We have a winner. Thread over.

Re:leave steve alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26547547)

Wait, are you being serious, or are you just parodying that "leave Britney alone" hoser?

I honestly can't tell.

Re:leave steve alone! (2, Funny)

mk2mark (1144731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547803)

LEAVE STEVE-NEY ALONE!!!!!1!!

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547853)

How can his health issues be any more important than those of head of tupperware or American Toyota, who's name you don't know.

Because when THEY get sick, their company's' stock price doesn't plummet.

Re:leave steve alone! (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548379)

So what does the SEC have to argue here.

In theory, people who have knowledge of Steve Jobs health have insider trading status.

Like it or not, the health of Job's does affect the price price.

If say, Job's doctor diagnoses him with terminal cancer and the doctor calls his broker the next day to short AAPL to kingdom come, then you've got some problem that SEC is very concerned with.

So the main question is if Apple mislead the public about Job's health in order to manipulate share price. If so, then it is a big deal.

Re:And to expand... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548461)

Replacing a CEO and naming a CEO has to be considered insider knowledge by the SEC rules.

So its not just APPL, but any company who uses replacement of the CEO to purposely manipulate stock price. Say the board of directors are going to fire a CEO but if they with hold that knowledge from the public, then that raises some problems.

Same thing here except its about health issues.

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

pxuongl (758399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548631)

investors and money in the stock market doesn't care about people. they only care about profit.

the same investors who would've chopped the early 90's apple up and sold it for profit are the same people who want to know everything about Jobs so they can get out of the market and make money.

greed isn't creative.

greed is near sighted.

greed is an indiscriminate killer of all things, not just lives.

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

chunkyq (995864) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548695)

it's not a techincal criteria

The singular form of 'criteria' is 'criterion'.

Re:leave steve alone! (1)

LearningHard (612455) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548927)

It isn't about Jobs. It is about insiders selling shares before the announcement while at the same time saying he was fine to prop up the price.

See http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=AAPL [yahoo.com]

It seems very plausible that Jobs held back the announcement (or Apple as a company did). To allow company insiders to divest themselves of a significant number of shares.

Here here! (2, Interesting)

spiedrazer (555388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547155)

This is what's wrong with our country. The only thing that matters to anyone is stock price, so now the SEC needs to investigate the timing and details of a CEO health announcement??? How does that have anything to do with the long term outlook of the company. This is the most assinine thing I have ever heard.

Re:Here here! (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547187)

Yes because the SEC has done such a bang-up job with its previous "hands off" policy towards corporations.

Perhaps it's time for the SEC to start being tougher, so we can avoid more dishonest dealings (lies) coming from corporations & avoid yet another collapse.

Re:Here here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26547233)

Maybe they should investigate the banks then.

Not a company that is making $5b profit a year and hasn't lost massive amounts of money gambling.

Re:Here here! (1)

pxuongl (758399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548829)

the problem is with what the stock market's evolved into.

originally, the stock market is there for people to invest in companies and to participate in its success

what the stock market is now are millions of day traders who care nothing about the company they're investing in, and are staring at stock tickers, waiting to profit off of intra-day price changes.

Re:Seems like... (2, Insightful)

hendrix2k (1099161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547259)

It isn't an issue of the corporation being bigger than just one man. The SEC is investigating because it's a matter of whether investors were mislead by Apple's disclosures. Because while a CEO is just a man, he's a very important man within that corporation and his health and well-being does in fact affect share prices. Whether that should be the case is entirely irrelevant to the SEC's need to investigate.

A corporation is bigger than just one man, but let's put that in perspective:

/. is bigger than CmdrTaco, but if he had Jobs' health issues, it would still affect the readers in one form or another.

Yeah, right! (2, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547551)

Because anyone [wikipedia.org] would do fine as Apple's CEO...

republicans? (1)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546697)

I can't read the article because it's a bad link, but why that tag? If you use apple products your automatically a dem?

Re:republicans? (1)

assantisz (881107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546751)

Are we geeks or not? Just replace the single quote in the bad link with a question mark.

Re:republicans? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547499)

Are we geeks or not? Just replace the single quote in the bad link with a question mark.

Is this the new version of Slashdot capcha?

Re:republicans? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546905)

FTFA:

In the past year, the SEC has been criticized by lawmakers, investors and its own inspector general as lacking aggressiveness and being deferential to companies, including Wall Street banks. Last month, the agency admitted it failed to detect Madoffâ(TM)s alleged fraud, even though it had received âoecredible and specificâ complaints about the 70-year-old New York money manager for at least a decade.

The SEC is part of the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch has been controlled by the Republican party; hence, the Republican tag.

Re:republicans? (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547593)

Last month, the agency admitted it failed to detect Madoff's alleged fraud, even though it had received "credible and specific" complaints about the 70-year-old New York money manager for at least a decade.

The SEC is part of the Executive Branch. The Executive Branch has been controlled by the Republican party; hence, the Republican tag.

At least a decade - 8 years >= 2 years. Besides, securities scandal is certainly not unique to Republicans.

I would say that because the SEC was sleeping on the job on Madoff they are under additional scrutiny to follow up much more aggressively on everything now, even something as silly as this.

Let's not make it partisan conspiracy when it's clearly a simple case of incompetence.

democrats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546921)

Probably the same reason it has the "democrats" tag: no reason at all! I've seen an article about George W. Bush tagged "democrats". Just ignore the "republicans" and "democrats" tags; they rarely make sense.

Re:democrats? (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547173)

Better yet, just ignore all the tags. They're pretty much useless.

Two things... (0)

assantisz (881107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546713)

a) a person's health is private matter, b) Apple is doing something really wrong when it puts all its eggs into Job's basket - no man or woman should have so much power in a company that his/her illness can cause ripples in the business world.

Not in Apple's case. (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546975)

FTFA:

âoeSteve Jobs himself thinks the Steve Jobs mystique is of value -- otherwise, why not have other people introduce those products over the past 10 years?â said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, associate dean of the Yale University School of Management. âoeSteve Jobs, Martha Stewart and Donald Trump have all made the boss the brand. The boss is the brand at Apple.â

Jobs set himself up to be a "Rock Star" businessman. He was always the guy at MacWorld, he was the guy that has this cult around him. What Apple needs to do is to start highlighting the designers as a group that actually come up with the ideas. I don't think Jobs was actually the one who came up with the iPod, and iWhatever they are (I'm not an Apple fanboy if you can't tell.).

Re:Not in Apple's case. (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547423)

I don't think Jobs was actually the one who came up with the iPod, and iWhatever they are (I'm not an Apple fanboy if you can't tell.).

If you're talking about that desk lamp computer monstrosity, I think you mean the iSore.

Re:Two things... (3)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547093)

Jobs not doing keynotes and Apple announcing that Jobs took a leave of absence is Apple trying to clue investors into the fact that more then one person works at Apple. It's investors that think otherwise, not Apple putting it's eggs in one basket.

Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26547381)

A person's health is a private matter if it doesn't interrupt, influence or diminish the company's goals.

I help run a small company and if I'm sick, 33-50% of the company is effectively offline.

Jobs, or Apple, or both, were in the wrong in how they handled this and the INVESTORS should not suffer because the guys at the top want to keep the stock artificially inflated.

If Apple or any company or individual C level employee wants to be private, they can not be publicly funded corporation.

broken link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546719)

The story doesn't load for me. It appears to be a broken link.

Liver transplant? (3, Funny)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546757)

If Jobs is going to have one he'd better get in line, as I hear that Larry Hagman [wikipedia.org] has all available ones claimed.

Apple isn't Apple without Steve. (0)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546767)

He knows it.

We know it.

His shareholders know it. (Look what's happened to apples stock since his health concerns surfaced http://finance.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:AAPL [google.com] )

Face it, Apple will not be the same without this genius inventor. I pray that he will make a swift recovery and get back to his full strength.

Re:Apple isn't Apple without Steve. (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546903)

According to the graph you linked to, the most major downturn in stock value related not to Steve's health, but to the following news:

Apple Inc. Executives Settle Shareholder Suits For $14 Million-Reuters
Thursday, 11 Sep 2008 01:32am EDT
Reuters reported that federal judge in San Jose has given preliminary approval to a $14 million settlement of shareholder claims over backdating of stock options against current and former Apple Inc executives, court documents showed. The current and former executives and directors, including Chief Executive Steve Jobs, agreed to the settlement. As part of the deal, Apple's liability insurer agreed to pay the Company $14 million, the court document said. The deal also includes the insuring company's payment of nearly $9 million in fees and expenses to lawyers who brought the state and federal actions that were later consolidated. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel gave preliminary approval to the proposal and set a hearing for Oct. 31 to finalize it.

Re:Apple isn't Apple without Steve. (2)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547145)

Have you taken a look at Apple's finances lately? $14 million is a drop in the bucket. As odd as it sounds, for a company of Apple's size, lawsuits dealing with amounts of money similar to that are almost routine. I don't think it had much of an effect.

Re:Apple isn't Apple without Steve. (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547201)

I'm just saying: there's no indication on the graph that stocks tanked more when Jobs' health concerns surfaced.

Re:Apple isn't Apple without Steve. (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546919)

Looking at the 3 month chart they are moving almost exactly with the market and are down about 2% less then the NASDAQ composite over that time period. Over the 1 year period they are down about 12% more than the NASDAQ composite but the movements are mostly market tracking.

Taken in by the slick packaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546781)

Do they mean the way the users have been taken in by the slick packaging to imagine that the quality of the software and hardware they are buying is worthy of the price?

fixed link (5, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546785)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aDL78iMCdOzk [bloomberg.com]

(its a question mark, not a quote mark...)

copy the url, look at it, does it look 'right' to you? ;) usually its a question mark as the first delim char before the parms.

Re:fixed link (text inline) (3, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546831)

Apple Disclosures About Jobs Said to Face SEC Review (Update2)

By David Scheer and Connie Guglielmo

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators are examining Apple Inc.'s disclosures about Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs's health problems to ensure investors weren't misled, a person familiar with the matter said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission's review doesn't mean investigators have seen evidence of wrongdoing, the person said, declining to be identified because the inquiry isn't public. Bloomberg News reported last week that Jobs is considering a liver transplant as a result of complications after treatment for cancer, according to people who are monitoring his illness.

Investors have been pressing for information on Jobs's health since June, when he appeared noticeably thinner at an Apple event. The company's stock whipsawed this month after Jobs, who battled pancreatic cancer in 2004, said he would remain CEO while seeking a "relatively simple" treatment for a nutritional ailment. Nine days later, Jobs said he would take a five-month medical leave after learning his health issues were "more complex."

"The good news flipped by the bad news makes one wonder what Apple knew," said James Cox, a law professor at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. "It's not surprising for the SEC to come in and look afterward, given the pressure and publicity regarding their handling of a lot of cases," such as criticism of the SEC's response to Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment on the Apple inquiry. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, declined to comment.

Apple will report first-quarter earnings after the market close today, followed by a conference call at 5 p.m. New York time.

Shares Rose

Apple's shares rose 4.2 percent on Jan. 5 after Jobs said he had been diagnosed with a hormone imbalance that caused him to lose weight throughout 2008 and "that has been robbing me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy." It was the first public disclosure of Jobs's health since August 2004, when he revealed he had undergone successful surgery to remove a neuroendocrine islet cell tumor, a rare, slow-growing type of cancer that affects as many as 3,000 people in the U.S. annually.

Before today, Apple stock had dropped 8.4 percent since the company disclosed Jan. 14 that Jobs, 53, would be on medical leave through June. The shares added $1.58, or 2 percent, to $79.78 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading at 9:31 a.m. New York time.

Apple has declined to provide specifics of the illness and Jobs said he won't comment further about his health. "Why don't you guys leave me alone -- why is this important?" he said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News on Jan. 16.

Definitive Answers'

To bring any case, the SEC would probably have to show the company tried to benefit by withholding information about an unambiguous diagnosis, said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor and SEC lawyer who now teaches at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.

"It would be difficult, and certainly a new area of the law," Henning said. "You would have to pin down exactly what they knew, and with a health issue -- unlike a merger or a decline in revenue -- it's not subject to definitive answers."

Corporate governance experts say shareholder interest in Jobs is unusually high because he is considered synonymous with Apple. He returned as CEO in 1997, turning the once-unprofitable maker of Macintosh computers into a successful consumer- electronics company with the iPod media player and iPhone. Jobs established himself as the face of Apple, serving as the main pitchman at every major product announcement over the past decade while yielding little time to other top executives.

"Steve Jobs himself thinks the Steve Jobs mystique is of value -- otherwise, why not have other people introduce those products over the past 10 years?" said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, associate dean of the Yale University School of Management. "Steve Jobs, Martha Stewart and Donald Trump have all made the boss the brand. The boss is the brand at Apple."

Few Details

Apple's disclosures about Jobs's health have frustrated investors, who have watched the stock sink with each new rumor about his condition. Jobs said Jan. 5 that he decided to comment on his health after his decision to skip the Macworld conference, after 11 straight years of appearances, "set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed."

"The company has used him and made him a public figure to increase the value of Apple," said John Dienhart, who holds the Frank Shrontz Chair for Professional Ethics at Seattle University. "If you take the good from that, then you have to take the bad."

Shareholder Obligations
The company's board, which includes Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Genentech Inc. CEO Arthur Levinson, has declined to comment or hasn't responded to requests for comment.

Apple's board may have met its obligations to shareholders by notifying investors that Jobs will be on leave, said Edward Smith, a corporate governance expert at Chadbourne & Parke in New York. Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook, who filled in for Jobs during his monthlong leave in 2004, has taken over day-to- day operations. Jobs said Jan. 14 he plans to remain involved in major strategic decisions. "Our board of directors fully supports this plan," he said.

The board isn't obligated to provide specific details about the nature of Jobs's illness, Smith said.

"It's really an issue of the ability of the CEO during the period of his ill health to continue to advise and consult and manage the affairs of the company," he said. "Someone might be able to do that from a hospital bed for several weeks just as well as they may do it from the office."

'Really Honest'

While the SEC doesn't require a company to disclose health information about its executives, Apple directors may want to be more forthcoming with investors, Dienhart said.

"The reason we're talking about this is we're not sure they're being really honest with us," he said. "What's amping up our skepticism is all those other business failures in the general market."

In the past year, the SEC has been criticized by lawmakers, investors and its own inspector general as lacking aggressiveness and being deferential to companies, including Wall Street banks. Last month, the agency admitted it failed to detect Madoff's alleged fraud, even though it had received "credible and specific" complaints about the 70-year-old New York money manager for at least a decade.

To contact the reporters on this story: David Scheer in New York at dscheer@bloomberg.net; Connie Guglielmo in San Francisco at cguglielmo1@bloomberg.net

Article link... (-1, Redundant)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546823)

Re:Article link... (0, Redundant)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546917)

the link you posted is different; they marked that as 'update1'.

the update2 link was posted in the article - just change the ' to a ? and it works fine.

Correct link (-1, Redundant)

KasperMeerts (1305097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546895)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aDL78iMCdOzk [bloomberg.com]
I for one, would like Apple to go down together with Steve Jobs just to prove a DRM-and-FOSS related point with one of my former classmates.

Re:Correct link (0, Troll)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547399)

Ahh FOSS zealots, gotta love you guys. Without your ilk the year of the linux desktop might have already happened. Carry on spreading your ill will against anyone that doesn't march in lockstep with you. All your enemies just love seeing you piss off (and piss on) any potential allies.

Re:Correct link (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548895)

What an idiotic thing to say.

Bernie Maddoff was reviewed by these guys (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546907)

And they found nothing wrong.

Now with their necks on the line, they will make something up if needed to show that they are doing their jobs.

I wish I had mod points. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26547147)

You would have gotten a +1 Insightful for that.

Apple News (0, Troll)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546995)

Wow Apple will post anything just to stay in the news.. even a persons medical problem which i belive is a personal matter and should not be told.

Practice what you preach, SEC. (5, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547001)

I'll tell you what, Mr. SEC Investigator, you do a really good job sniffing out wrong-doing in the Mortgage Crisis (and that means severely pointing fingers at Congress) as well as demanding transparency in the oil trade business and I'll let you bitch about Apple.

Re:Practice what you preach, SEC. (1, Insightful)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547675)

Sometimes I wish slashdot would just give you one mod point each day (not cumulative, just one max) just so you could vote up a really insightful comment like this one even when you aren't a mod.

Re:Practice what you preach, SEC. (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548291)

Damn these Troll/Insightful submissions. They tear at my insides....

You mean he doesn't actually have AIDS? (1)

SrWebDeveloper (1419361) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547037)

Yes, the subject of this reply is tasteless. Just as tasteless as a corporation releasing personal health matters under the guise of "full disclosure" or a government agency's "review" without any evidence of malfeasance whatsoever. The truth is Mr. Jobs simply suffered a misdiagnosis which led to rampant speculation opening the door to all this insane over reaction. Let's all wish the man good health and offer support in his time of physical crisis, and maybe offer a damned apology for the burden of all this unnecessary and additional emotional baggage. He's earned better than this.

This wouldn't be an issue at most companies.... (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547075)

I have to side with Jobs himself, on this one. People just need to leave him alone, and stay out of this media crusade to "get to the bottom of what's ailing him".

The ONLY reason people are worked into a frenzy (and even got the SEC involved) in Apple's case is because of the intense focus on Steve Jobs as THE man behind Apple.

(My mom is friends with a guy who went through chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, very similar to what Jobs had. Even though he was initially doing well, they discovered some of the cancer cells had metastasized to his liver, and about 4 years later, he's looking at a possible liver transplant. So *if* Bloomberg's report is accurate -- I wouldn't be surprised at all if this is the REAL story with Jobs' health right now.)

Nonetheless, it's not doing investors or the company any good to keep harping on it, and perpetuating the idea that Apple can't function without Steve in charge!

He's not going to live forever, even if it turns out this whole thing was made up as an excuse for Jobs to give himself a 6 month vacation! There has to be a "plan B", and any decent CEO has certainly given that some thought.

IMHO, Steve Jobs already served his main purpose for Apple. He rescued the company from a downward spiral, completely revamped the product line from top to bottom and turned it into one of the biggest tech success stories out there. He set Apple on a course of being a media distributor as well as a "computer company", and extended that to the cellphone marketplace too. If nobody out there can work with THAT, after it's handed to them on a silver platter? Well, I'm not sure America has any future in tech at all!

Re:This wouldn't be an issue at most companies.... (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547589)

I have to side with Jobs himself, on this one. People just need to leave him alone, and stay out of this media crusade to "get to the bottom of what's ailing him".

This is the Streisand effect in action. The more people scream leave Bri^H^H^H Steve alone, the more people want to know what the big secret is all about.

Re:This wouldn't be an issue at most companies.... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548327)

I'm curious how the SEC can punish a company for complying with other federal guidelines, such as HIPPA.

People Lost Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26547131)

Bottom line, people lost money on the stock. A lot of money. Jobs' cute little comment about his blood pressure at the rollout of the worst laptops they've ever produced followed a couple weeks later by canceling his annual public appearance and then taking a leave is over-the-top. If it was a coincidence while his health was changing, then so be it. But they do need to look at it to make sure that it all wasn't done "intentionally" because, again, people lost money.

Re:People Lost Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548903)

EXTREMELY SERIOUS WARNING (printed on a separate page, in red letters on a yellow background): Unless you are as smart as Johann Karl Friedrich Gauss, savvy as a half-blind Calcutta bootblack, tough as General William Tecumseh Sherman, rich as the Queen of England, emotionally resilient as a Red Sox fan, and as generally able to take care of yourself as the average nuclear missile submarine commander, you should never have been allowed near this document. Please dispose of it as you would any piece of high-level radioactive waste and then arrange with a qualified surgeon to amputate your arms at the elbows and gouge your eyes from their sockets. This warning is necessary because once, a hundred years ago, a little old lady in Kentucky put a hundred dollars into a dry goods company which went belly-up and only returned her ninety-nine dollars. Ever since then the government has been on our asses. If you ignore this warning, read on at your peril â" you are dead certain to lose everything youâ(TM)ve got and live out your final decades beating back waves of termites in a Mississippi Delta leper colony.

So, yeah. People lost money. People loose money *ALL* *THE* FREAKING* *TIME* when they invest. If Steve's health is good, and the stock price goes up, what - are we going to call for an SEC investigation because, you know, the poor investors who shorted Apple stock lost money! A lot of money!

Boo-hoo.

They took a risk, they lost this time around. Suck it up and deal with it, and maybe in the future, don't invest in a company where a change in a single person's health can have such an impact. It's called learning - you should try it sometime.

Ethical Question: SHOULD HE EVEN GET A LIVER? (4, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547329)

So, let's say Jobs needs (I guess his doctors would decide if he needed it) a liver. Where does he get it? I mean, in the U.S., the scarce organs available for transplant are decided (I think) by some medical board that determines the medical usefulness(?) of the organ to the patient. That is, will it help the patient live a substantially longer, healthier life.

I don't think that they take into consideration the person's wealth or any other measure of that person's *value* to society. So, even if billions of dollars of market capitalization are at stake and millions of customers depend on his brilliance, he may be turned down for say, a 16 year old girl who has her whole life in front of her. I could be wrong though, there may be some provision for "importance" to society. Anybody know the answer? (Of course the medical board's answer may be different from what you think it should be!)

Now, living as I do in a third world country, I can see how Jobs could easily fly here and "procure" one if he needed it. (I'm not saying that he'd take one from a living person of course, just that he would get bumped up to the front of the line). Wouldn't look too good for Apple's image to so openly go around the American system but he would save his life (and presumably Apple). I'm afraid to say that as an Apple fanboy I'd rather him do that than die.

Simple... (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547537)

They will just clone him and harvest the liver. Or perhaps it would be better to let the clone take over.

Re:Ethical Question: SHOULD HE EVEN GET A LIVER? (2, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547653)

UNOS is the organization that oversees regional organ procurement and donor rules. If he were to be put on the list, he shouldn't be given any special treatment.

Re:Ethical Question: SHOULD HE EVEN GET A LIVER? (2, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547809)

Public organ transplants are handled by UNOS [unos.org] in the United States. He is put on a waiting list. For the most part, UNOS is non-discriminatory: Wealth, fame, etc play no part in where on the list a person ends up. He moves up and down the list based on medical factors like likelihood to survive, likelihood of a match. Patients that are more likely to survive and have rarer matches are moved up. In the particular case of liver transplants, alcoholics who refuse to quit drinking are moved down, for example. In terms of donation, organ sales are illegal in the US and most of Europe. A donor (or their family) can request that the organs be targeted to a specific person.

As for private donations and third world countries, Jobs' wealth may help him. They do not help him with UNOS. Unfortunately, organ sales as you describe it is not illegal in all countries.

CAN he even get a liver? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547831)

There is a more pressing and immediate question: Can a matching donor be found in time to make the transplant effective? Once the match is found, then the next question is whether any other patients are compatible with it and could be saved by it. Only then does the question come down to "who gets it?"

A lot of transplant patients die waiting for a donor. That's not necessarily because anyone was "ahead of them in line." It's at least as likely that none of the (regrettably few) organs donated during their lifetimes matched their needs.

Re:Ethical Question: SHOULD HE EVEN GET A LIVER? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547865)

Ask David Crosby.

Re:Ethical Question: SHOULD HE EVEN GET A LIVER? (4, Informative)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548053)

As someone who has recently been involved in transplant cases (doing psych evals of the potential recipients) here's a bit of what I learned (this might just be true at my particular hospital).
  1. Preference is given to people who demonstrate that they will be able to maintain the new organ after transplant. People with good social networks (or a lot of money to hire full time nursing care) are far less likely to be rejected.
  2. Age generally is not factored in (a lot of transplants fail within 10 years anyway) unless the patient is very young or very old. The thing about a transplant is that it generally won't let someone live a normal life, just a better and longer one.
  3. The parent is correct about the "usefulness" of the organ. If the team of doctors don't think it will significantly improve quality of life, they won't do it.
  4. Money is a factor. If someone like Steve Jobs can pay for a transplant out of pocket without dealing with insurance, he could move up the list just because there is no need to wait for insurance bureaucracy.
  5. Most of the waiting comes from waiting for a good "match." If someone has a family member or friend who wants to donate, then they go ahead with the donation process (after extensive medical and psychological testing, at least that's the way it's done at major hospitals). With livers, people can donate a piece of their liver although it's much more common to have a standard transplant from a deceased donor.

Basically, much of what the parent said was correct. However, money can influence the process (I'm not talking about bribing, which is both unethical and illegal). Other than some serious psychological issues and/or a history of non-compliance with medical care, there is very little that disqualifies people from transplantation. A lot of it comes down to the "lottery" of finding an organ match. Steve probably would get some preferential treatment though.

Re:Ethical Question: SHOULD HE EVEN GET A LIVER? (1)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548247)

I mean, in the U.S., the scarce organs available for transplant are decided (I think) by some medical board that determines the medical usefulness(?)

I think Steve can afford an airplane ticket to someplace outside the US. I think in China the process is different then here. They simply find a prisoner and schedule an execution.

Not saying he'd go to China but a person with his money has many options

Re:Ethical Question: SHOULD HE EVEN GET A LIVER? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548363)

I can see it now.. the board of doctors, sitting around a conference table, looking at a list of names.. Then looking at their shiny laptops, and their iPhones, and moving a page from the bottom to the top of the stack.

Actually, really curious is what would happen if the President of VP of the US needed a transplant?

Mac World (3, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547395)

I'm a PC.

Not like the rest, the others. Everyone around me. I was at odds with my society and knew it early since birth. Unlike them, I did not "Think Different!"--the mantra of the Macs around me, the phrase on all the billboards in the city that served as a reminder to its citizenry. Sameness pervaded the essence of my being and no amount of self-conditioning I did could change that. Eventually, I gave up and isolated myself emotionally from society.

I gaze at the faces going by, the white earphones contrasting their black turtlenecks, connecting their ears to their pockets, their blank faces engrossed in hip Indie rock music and various garage bands. I envied them for their perfection against my flaws and my compulsive nature to expand, to burden my life with troubles instead of remaining, like them, simple and easy to deal with. The grandest of virtues, simplicity... the philosophy by our loyal benefactor Steve Jobs, who descended from the heavens, creating the Earth, the iron, the wind and the rain. Steve Jobs, who defined the parameters of existence, the one who set about the patterns of reality, the constants, the variables. He who made gravity, electromagnetic energy, and shaped atomic structures and brought forth motion. From these things, he crafted the elements, processed them, refined them, and from these things engineered Apple products through the purity of his mind. Each Apple product was individually crafted by his own hands with the programming code used to run each device having being compiled in his brain and uploaded to each device telepathically, breathing life and perfection into each and every unit.

Except, it seems, for me, for I was not among the many. I was a PC. They were Macs. I've always been a cold, stiff person. I got by, disguising myself by keeping my non-Ipod music player safely out of sight, which I use because of my depraved nature demanding more functionality than the simple and easy-to-use Ipods have to offer... In the safety of my own home, behind locked doors, I ran a Forbidden, a contraband computer from more depraved, earlier days that was not given the love and blessing of being birthed by Steve Jobs. I dual booted, out of the great sin of curiosity-- curiosity, a shameful value of a PC, as curiosity has no place where simplicity matters most--using two of the great unutterable blasphemies-- something called "Windows Vista" and something else called "Linux." Although, as I mentioned before, although my tendency to be a PC and towards conformity has always been inherent to me, I was truly transformed when I found these old things in a hidden cache of computer parts predating The Purging. Perhaps the greatest sin of all, the single evil that, if discovered, would damn me forever, was the fact that my mouse had more than one button.

As I walked on among the Macs on the streets, passing the Starbuckses as I went along, I wondered how it all came to this. I glanced at The Holy Marks on the foreheads as the people wandered down the streets, the Bitten Apple tattooed on all our of us at birth, and wondered if, perhaps, there could be something more to life. But again, this was a PC's thought, and not, like everyone elses', a Mac's. We were to hold ourselves to the philosophy of Steve Jobs--so as his products were designed for idiots, so too were we to be idiots. But I was not a Mac--I was not an idiot. I was simply too complicated to be a worthwhile person.

Nature called. I found a nearby public iPoo--squeaky clean and shining white, things weren't all bad--and let myself go, expelling the waste that had accumulated inside me. After relieving myself and committing the overly-complicated and thus illegal act of wiping my ass (I did not flush as iPoos, designed to be idiot-proof, did not flush) I left and once again wandered the streets aimlessly, hoping to find some meaning in a world where I simply did not belong, a world where if my true nature was discovered, I would be endlessly persecuted by smug, self-righteous sons of bitches.

Re:Mac World (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26547649)

Dude! You're getting a Dell!

Crossing the line (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547415)

I think this crosses the line. What next? Should companies publish regular updates on their CEO's blood pressure and cholesterol level so that shareholders can properly assess the odds of him popping an artery just before a crucial rights issue? Should we be told about their mother's cancer history? Heck, even if Jobs were perfectly healthy, he might wake up tomorrow and decide its time to chuck it all in and buy that armadillo ranch in Zambia that he's always dreamed of - perhaps the shareholders need to know his retirement plans in detail?

If it is your judgement that a particular firm is completely reliant on the personality of their CEO then that's really all you need to know before investing: all men are mortal.

I'm glad the SEC worries about a CEO's health... (2, Funny)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547475)

instead of, say, investigating alleged Ponzi schemes, [wikipedia.org]

Having said that, I'd have to admit that I'm very much opposed to disclosing information about any company at the expense of one's personal health privacy. That has the potential for setting all sorts of uncomfortable precedents at "for profit" corporations.

Let's face it, Wall Street isn't exactly a model for ethical behavior. I'd have a hard time being convinced that the SEC or shareholders should be involved in anyone's personal health at anything more than the actuarial statistics level.

Flamebait, NOT! (0, Troll)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547533)

A few days ago I was modded "flamebait" for saying he's dying and he knows it, because who announces that they are, in fact, healthy despite appearances.

Now we hear he needs a liver transplant. Sorry, he knew his condition, he knows he's dying. Pancreatic cancer is no joke, and the treatment is harsh.

While I do seriously feel for Mr. Jobs, I think he is being irresponsible to the employees and stock holders of Apple. Information should come sooner rather than later and as honest as possible. Maybe he's in denial, who knows, but he has a responsibility to make sure Apple continues regardless of his presence. Denying his condition is not a solution.

So, for you people who feel you need to mod me flame bait because I state my opinion which may or may not be politically correct, do what you will.

Re:Flamebait, NOT! (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547761)

He is probably not denying his condition he just wants to stay within a sense of normalcy. I think he was being pretty responsible. He left the company and he plans to come back in the summer. Beyond that if it were me, I would keep things as quiet as possible too. Just my two cents.

Re:Flamebait, NOT! (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548031)

I mostly agree, but the previous denial as a "hormone imbalance" was totally irresponsible.

Bad information (1)

forgoil (104808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547671)

Look at all the predictions when it comes to Apples products, and then see how many of them are actually true. Remove the people who actually just happen to guess right (they usually have other, incorrect, guesses as well), and you'll end up with precious few. And we can't be sure even they knew, but rather guessed one way or another.

So, why, should I give a damn about what the same people are guessing regarding Steve Jobs? The man owes me nothing and I will leave him alone regarding all personal issues.

All the lying "journalists" on the other hand...

Steve Job's Personal Heath?! (1)

ITJC68 (1370229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547905)

What business is it of an investor or anyone other then his immediate family about his personal health? The answer is no ones and now someone had the brain child to want to start an investigation into whether there were any "misleading" information. I could see this if he were say "The President of the United States" but not the CEO of Apple!!! Leave the man alone and if you want to sell of your shares of Apple because of news of speculation of his health then feel free to do so. But don't try to hold the company liable for withholding information. They should and should from here out tell anyone who inquires to read the HIPA regulations. Sorry but this sort of stuff just borders insanity IMHO. Apple will go on even if Steve leaves.

Apple's response: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548013)

"We're not lying, just very very optimistic!"

Obscene waste of SEC resources (1)

calstraycat (320736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548241)

Well, isn't that rich. We are in an economic crisis which was caused, in part, by the SEC being deliberately asleep-at-the-wheel. Now they are going to redeem themselves by appeasing a bunch of whiners who wouldn't be satisfied if Steve Jobs published all of his health records online.

Investors and would-be investors know absolutely everything they need to know. Steve Jobs had cancer and, as such, will likely die at an age lower than the national average. He is sick again. So sick that he's taking six months off work.

That's all you need to know.

If you currently own stock and think that the loss of Steve Jobs as CEO will cause the stock price to drop, you should sell your shares now. If you believe Apple will continue thrive without him, then you should hold your position.

If you are not a current stockholder, you should decide which of the above you believe and invest your money accordingly.

That's it.

If you feel you need to know more about the Steve Jobs' health, you are f*#%ing soulless ghoul.

Bloomberg is irresponsible (1)

NeXTLoop (604911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548585)

Bloomberg DID NOT say that Jobs is considering a liver transplant. They quoted some doctor in Georgia, WHO HAS NEVER SEEND JOBS, as saying that its POSSIBLE for cases like Jobs' to lead to a liver transplant. Come on people!!! Is this the era of "who cares about truth... let me spew every possibility known to man without any proof" journalism??? If this is the new standard in journalism... they've relegated themselves to tabloid writers.

science to its rightful place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548693)

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost."

You know had Dubya not raped science, Jobs could have now just eaten a pill and grown a new liver inside him or something. Bigger penises for all of us too..

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