Joe Nocera on Steve Jobs Health

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by flytiger, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Source:
    September 9, 2008, 8:05 pm
    Shocker! Steve Jobs Blames It All on Hedge Funds
    By Joe Nocera

    To the ranks of chief executives who blame those terrible meanies who run hedge funds for their troubles — Jeffrey Skilling at Enron, say, or Jimmy Cayne at Bear Stearns, or Patrick Byrne at — we can now add a new name: the one and only Steve Jobs. According to Jim Goldman, who interviewed Mr. Jobs today on CNBC after his latest razzle-dazzle product announcement, the Apple chief executive said the rumors that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer came from “hedge funds with a big short position in Apple.”
    Let’s quickly review the facts: In June, Mr. Jobs, who survived pancreatic cancer four years ago, appeared at an Apple developer’s conference looking gaunt and haggard. Naturally, investors worried that the cancer had returned. At first, Apple’s public relations folks lied — saying he had a common bug. Then, the company refused to say anything at all, even when asked during a conference call by an analyst. “Steve’s health is a private matter,” was the party line. (See my column about the subject here.)
    So today, Mr. Jobs appeared on stage under a sign that read, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” before plugging the latest iteration of iPods. These fairly minor product announcements got enormous attention as a result. So apparently, during marketing events at least, he is willing to put aside his privacy concerns. Interesting.
    Then he sat down with Mr. Goldman of CNBC for an interview that lasted nearly seven minutes — an eternity in TV time. As Mr. Goldman recounts on his blog, Mr. Jobs told Mr. Goldman that he wouldn’t answer any questions about his health on camera — hey, the man’s trying to protect his privacy — so every second of those seven minutes was spent plugging Apple products. Every other tech chief executives in country must wish for similar treatment. Off camera, Mr. Jobs allowed as to how he could stand to gain a few pounds, but assured Mr. Goldman that he was fine. And then he brought up the favorite bugaboo of beleaguered chief executives everywhere: those short-seller hedge funds did it
    Yeah, right. What is far more likely is that hedge fund with long positions — i.e. ones that held Apple stock, not the ones shorting it — were asking anyone who might be in a position to know whether Mr. Jobs was sick again. This was a perfectly sensible thing for them to do because Mr. Jobs is so vital to Apple — and his health is therefore vital to all investors. But Mr. Jobs wasn’t talking — gotta protect that privacy — so the rumors spread and festered.
    You know what I think? When it comes to these rumors, Mr. Jobs isn’t beleaguered at all. I think he likes having half the world wondering about his health. I think he likes the fact that Bloomberg accidentally put his obituary on the Web. It’s a lovely reminder about just how important he is in the culture. It means half the world is spending time thinking about, well, him. Far more than anyone in hedge fund land, he himself was most responsible for the rumors, by acting so absurdly secretive. His narcissism isn’t pretty, but it sure is effective.

    This is patrick bryne on Joe Nocera. Patrick acquired a computer with 8000 emails, legally I might add. After the most important emails being turned over to the authorities, yes, the Department of Justice. There was much left to chew over.

    By the way. click on the link in Patrick's story. An excerpt:

    This is Steve Jobs,” he began (to Nocera). “You think I’m an arrogant [expletive] who thinks he’s above the law, and I think you’re a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong.”