Another day, another round of Steve Jobs is on his death bed rumors.
The latest rumor on Apple (APPL) CEO Steve Job being sick comes from Gizmodo, quoting a “reliable source” as saying that Jobs’ health is rapidly declining. Like previous rumors, this is attributed to the no-show at Macworld for the Stevenote.
As is usual, a number of sites sprung up as against the rumors, but only after AAPL stock dived from $87.99 to $85.04 (shares closed at $86.29, down 0.37%). AllThingsD quotes CNBC against the rumors, and goes as far as thinking that it might be a stock manipulation scheme.
Apple continues to remain silent about Steve Jobs’ health as they always have, citing his health as being a “private matter.”
Apple does have a long history of secrecy, so their refusal to rebut the rumors isn’t unusual, and yet given the constant speculation, most other companies now would have at least made a statement, or better still, rolled out their CEO for the cameras. It can be argued that Apple would have a duty to say something as well: if indeed Jobs is unwell to the point that he is no longer fulfilling his job, this should be disclosed to the market, likewise if he is healthy and the stock price declines based on false information, Apple should be saying so as well. Without a full understanding of US securities law (it would arguably be required under Australian law) it may also be a legal requirement that they disclose the fact if he is indeed unwell.
It is a stretch of course to suggest that failure to counter a rumor supports that rumor, but likewise if Apple has nothing to hide, why indeed are we not seeing Jobs. Even a small public appearance from Jobs would be enough to demonstrate that the rumors are false.
I’ll believe Steve Jobs is Healthy when I see him on camera, looking heathy, and not before then. It is the only irrefutable way these rumors will be going away, and as long as Apple remains silent the rumors will continue to gather steam.