The Song Remains the Same

In an August memo typed from his hospital bed, Steve Jobs -- Apple's chief executive, patriarch and media impresario--let his employees know he would be out for a month to recover from surgery to remove a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Patients with this type of cancer, called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, have a 90% survival rate, especially if treated early. Apple says Jobs is due back in September.

A Jobs-less Apple is tough to imagine. The Monday after the memo was made public, shares fell 2%, the Nasdaq was flat. With his silver beard, round specs and trademark black mock turtleneck, Jobs personifies Apple and its brand:hip, independent and gleefully geeky. He drives its design and marketing prowess and is chief credit-taker for the iPod's wild success. (Name another product to hit $1 billion in three years.)

"Apple is nothing without him," says Jobs cohort and Frog Design founder Hartmut Esslinger.

The board of directors says a secret succession plan is in place should Jobs ever be unable to run Apple. "We're not avoiding the subject. Succession is clearly part of our ongoing discussions," says Apple director Millard (Mickey)Drexler, also chairman of J. Crew.

News source: Yahoo! News

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