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Friday, June 13, 2008

Why does Steve Jobs look so thin?

[Originally posted June 13, 2008 on]

Much of the speculation about Steve Jobs' rail-thin appearance at the unveiling of the new iPhone on June 9 has tended to be all or nothing.

Either his cancer has returned or he is recovering from a bout with a "common bug," as his spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. "That's all there is to it," she said. (The talk may have unnerved investors a bit: Apple (AAPL) shares fell 4.1% on Thursday and another 2.4% by midday Friday.)

But this is not the first time Jobs' appearance has raised concerns about his health, and the "common bug" doesn't explain the weight loss that's evident in a review of his keynote videos over the past few years.

There's another possibility, one that is consistent with both Jobs' medical history and the changes in his appearance. It stems directly from the type of cancer for which he was treated four years ago and the nature of that treatment.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

After Steve Jobs: Handicapping Apple's back bench

[Originally posted June 4, 2008 on]

"You know, I think it wouldn't be a party," Steve Jobs told Fortune in February, describing the future of his company if, as he put it, Jobs got hit by a bus. "But there are really capable people at Apple. ... My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors."

Life at Apple without Jobs may be more than just a hypothetical. The 53-year-old Silicon Valley pioneer had a malignant tumor removed from his pancreas four years ago. With fresh concerns about his health following his gaunt appearance at the World Wide Developers Conference two weeks ago, it's fair to ask: who's on that executive team -- and which ones have a shot at ruling Apple once Jobs leaves (even if he exits years from now and not for health reasons)?

There are 11 men in all -- not counting Jobs. A handful are familiar faces to the small community of professional Apple watchers. As far as the general public is concerned, they are invisible, hidden in the long shadow cast by Apple's (AAPL) high-profile CEO.

Some seem more qualified to step into Jobs' shoes than others, but judge for yourself. Here they are, as listed on the company's Executive Profiles web page, in rough order of their chances of succeeding Steve Jobs.