A lot of people seem to think that the success of tech giant Apple hinges on the leadership of its CEO, Steve Jobs.
When reports surfaced on technology blog Gizmodo.com Dec. 30, 2008, that Jobs was ill, Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) stock reacted with an immediate drop. However CNBC Silicon Valley bureau chief Jim Goldman dismissed the reports as “flimsy at best” and maintained the company was being honest when it repeatedly said Jobs was healthy.
In post titled “Apple's Jobs is (Still) Fine” on his CNBC.com Tech Check blog, Goldman blasted the reports that Jobs was bowing out of MacWorld because of his health and restated the company line from Apple.
“I spoke to Apple after these headlines crossed and the company, which officially doesn't comment on rumors, reiterated the reasons it offered two weeks ago: Apple was pulling out of Macworld because the company didn't see the need to continue its investment in the expo, which included Steve Jobs’ keynote,” Goldman wrote on Dec. 30, 2008. “I was told this morning (Tuesday) that nothing has changed since then. The same reasons apply today that applied two weeks ago. I was told two weeks ago by sources inside Apple that the decision had nothing to do with Jobs' health. I got the same message today. Period.”
“I have been losing weight throughout 2008,” Jobs said in a statement. “The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. After further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause -- a hormone imbalance that has been ‘robbing’ me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy.”
Jesus Diaz, author of the post on Gizmodo.com that originally broke the news about Jobs’ health, criticized Goldman for not being more skeptical of Apple’s vice president of communications Katie Cotton – who has been less than truthful about Jobs’ health in the past.
“While I can understand Apple not telling the truth, perhaps a brilliant journalist and blogging aficionado like Goldman should have known better than trusting Apple’s VP of Worldwide Corporate Communications Katie Cotton, [e]specially when she lied before,” Diaz wrote in a post on Jan. 5.
However, Goldman defended his reporting of Jobs’ health during CNBC’s Jan. 5 “Squawk on the Street.” Co-host Mark Haines asked Goldman if he was buying it.
“You know, yes in a word,” Goldman said on the Jan. 5 “Squawk on the Street.” “Because, contrary to the reports indicating otherwise – Steve Jobs is not on his deathbed. He is not heading out of the C Suite. He is not relinquishing day to day control of this company and those are the key facts that Apple investors have to remember.”
Goldman claimed, as he did on his blog, the Apple stock was a victim of short-sellers that played up rumors of Jobs’ health. He also said he would take Apple at its word unless information was available otherwise – despite being criticized for not seeking more information about Jobs’ health.
“There has been so much manipulation by so many people in the market indicating that Steve Jobs was on his way out the door – it’s simply not the case,” Goldman added. “And you know, if we don’t have information that contradicts what Apple is saying – you have to take the company at its word.”