Steve Jobs goes on medical leave again

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Steve Jobs GenericSteve Jobs, Apple’s Chief Executive, is taking another medical leave, bringing questions around Jobs’ future in the company he established and returned to bring it back from the brink of bankruptcy.

In an email to Apple employees, he said that he has taken the leave of absence to “focus on [his] health” and that Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook would be responsible to Apple’s day-to-day operations – and this could explain why Cook appeared in front of Verizon’s keynote, rather than Jobs:

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Appleā€™s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

Steve

The announcement has pulled US futures indexes down, with the NASDAQ dropping 0.9 percent – the markets are closed for Martin Luther King Day, so we have to wait and see how Apple’s news affected the markets tomorrow – while Apple shares in Germany dropped nearly 8 percent to close at 239.50 EUR, from its open at 262.40 EUR.

Jobs took medical leave in 2009 after revealing that he had a hormone imbalance which became more “complex” and had a liver transplant.

The latest medical leave – third overall – will definitely raise concerns about Jobs’ well-being and his long-term future with the company, or even his succession plans.