Apple chief executive Steve Jobs today broke the news in an e-mail that he will take a leave of absence to focus on his health. He handed over the day-to-day operations to Tim Cook, the company's chief operating officer, but said he will continue as CEO and be involved in "major strategic decisions."
The following is the text of an email posted on Apple's website this morning:
At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple's day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.
I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.
Jobs has been struggling with health issues in and out of the public eye for some time, and recovered from a bout with pancreatic cancer. In July 2009 he took a six-month medical leave of absence for a liver transplant. Jobs did not say in his email today how long he might stay on medical leave this time around.
Some industry watchers worried about the prospects of Apple without its visionary at the helm, but the company continues to prosper with the launch of new products and services, including its iPad and the latest deal to release its iPhone 4 through Verizon
In an interview with the Marketplace Morning Report today, Washington Post technology writer Cecilia Kang again raised the question of how Apple will operate in a post-Jobs world under a chief with less name recognition.
"He's done a really great job in the past of taking over when Steve left for previous medical leaves. But people don't know his name. If you think of Apple do you ever think of Tim Cook?" Kang said.
PHOTO CREDIT: Apple CEO Steve Jobs announces the release of the Lion operating system at the company's headquarters on October 20, 2010 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.