I've noticed over the years that I can't say anything about
without garnering responses pro, con and sometimes unspeakable from readers. This week's missive on Apple's
announcement was no exception.
Readers are upset that I thought Jobs looked
thin and tired
during the presentation. Revealing what he said was a normal blood pressure, but refusing to reveal anything more about his health wasn't very reassuring. I was genuinely concerned.
I believe that if Jobs has a serious health problem his investors should be informed. Because he is the charismatic, omnipotent leader of a multibillion dollar corporation who has also battled cancer in the recent past, the right of Apple stockholders to know exactly how he's doing trumps his right to personal privacy.
Some readers vigorously disagree, such as GL:
Thanks for sharing old news. Don't you have anything else to do other than recycle old questions about Jobs' health status? You sound like a gossipy old woman. If you are so paranoid about Jobs' health, then don't buy the stock. Leave his personal health issue alone! You can't be a serious analyst."
JA went a step further:
"... You are in no position to state anyone does not look good at all! Shave, get a haircut, clean up yourself. You do not look good at all. You are supposed to be a TECHNOLOGY writer. What the hell are you doing writing a piece on someone's health or appearance?"
Is this man too thin?
And here is a small portion of what CB wrote:
"You are a stupid idiot. I'm so sick of your reports I could puke. First, everyone is upset because "there is no one to replace him"... so he shares the spotlight to demonstrate that there are other top Apple executives and you accuse him of being so ill he couldn't do the presentation himself. If he had to take the time to defend all the rumors you have started about him and his company ... the company would go broke because he would be on TV all the time defending himself and his products ... not taking care of business..."
Unfortunately, the rest of her email is too obscene to publish. Suffice it to say she seemed to take any criticism of Apple policy as a personal affront.
JC provided a much more reasoned response:
"... Couldn't the supporting cast at the recent Apple announcement be viewed as an attempt to show the public that other people work at Apple, too? It seems that Jobs was set up for a situation where he had to go out on stage and bench-press a Volkswagen or people would somehow question his health. I'm not saying he is or isn't hiding anything. I have no idea, and I have no interest in AAPL. I'm just saying that this may have been an attempt to manage expectations and start the deflation of the Cult of Jobs."
And MB had a personal take on the situation:
"I use to be a technology bigshot. Near time to leave, I started sharing the stage with my five underlings handpicked over several years. One of them took the bait and is now doing a better job of running things than I did. In the melee, he got credit for usurping the old man and all of the past was rewritten -- which now shows him as the 'innovator of all things'. That outfit is doing well now, but no 'new things for the future' have occurred in five years since the transition. Most likely a descent into Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report mediocrity is a close horizon. Time will tell for these people, and in a like fashion, for Apple when Steve leaves."
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Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.