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10 Dumbest Things on Wall Street in 2008

DUMBEST OF 2008 #7

Not Dead Yet

By Robert Holmes, 08/29/08

Reports of Steve Jobs' death have been greatly exaggerated, this time courtesy of Bloomberg.

In August, the financial news giant accidentally published an unfinished 17-page obituary for the Apple (AAPL) CEO before quickly pulling the story.

In a retraction notice Bloomberg called the errant posting an "incomplete story" -- presumably because Jobs is still, you know, alive.

Lucky for Bloomberg -- and Apple shareholders especially -- the premature obituary didn't cross the financial newswires until after the stock market had closed for the day. Still, the report was unsettling for investors who care greatly about Apple's CEO and plans for his succession.

Jobs' health is a particularly delicate subject. Jobs has previously battled pancreatic cancer, but his frail appearance during the launch of the iPhone 3G earlier this year ignited speculation that he is continuing to battle the disease.

Of course, it's natural for news organizations to prepare obituaries for such high-profile names well in advance. But for a company as infamous for micromanagement as Bloomberg, a gaffe like this is especially shocking.

For Jobs, though, there is one small consolation in combing through those 17 pages. You've got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to edit your own obituary.

Update 12/26: The issue of Jobs health reappeared Dec.16 when Apple announced its iconic leader won't be delivering the highly anticipated keynote speech at the annual Macworld computer trade show in January. The company's stock tanked when it said Philip Schiller, a marketing executive, will stand in for Jobs. He better look darned good in a black turtle neck sweater.

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