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Apple stock falls in wake of Jobs absence

by Jorge Hernandez on January 18, 2011

Steve Jobs, the charismatic co-founder of Apple, announced on Monday that he would be taking a leave of absence, less than two years after he returned to work following a liver transplant. Given his history of medical issues, including a bout with pancreatic cancer six years ago, this most recent absence raises some concerns about the electronics mogul's well-being, The New York Times reports.

In Jobs' stead, the company will be in the hands of its COO, Timothy Cook. Not much was revealed about the nature of Jobs' leave, as a statement by the company provided no further elaboration. However, Jobs has been known to suffer from complications stemming from a weakened immune system brought on by his recent transplant. Additionally, he has not made a public appearance since October.

The 55-year-old Jobs is one of the most recognizable CEOs in the industry, often appearing at product roll outs and other events. His leave comes at an especially crucial time in the company's existence as it battles numerous competitors for supremacy on several fronts,comma including the smartphone and tablet computer markets. .

Despite his assurance that he would remain the CEO and do his best to return promptly, the move has investors worried. Apple Inc. shares fell 4.7 percent in premarket trading Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports. Still, analysts believe there's no cause to worry as Apple shares have risen an astonishing 66 percent in the last 12 months.

"Jobs's absence should have no material impact on Apple's financial performance over the next several years," analyst Charlie Wolf told the news source.

Any fears of changes under the leadership of Cook are unfounded, experts say. The two differ on very little, and Cook has taken over every other time Jobs has had to leave his post. However, some are still concerned due to the fact Jobs did not specify any length of time, and there are worries it could be indefinite.  

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