For the second time in two years, Apple's CEO is taking a medical leave of absence. Steve Jobs sent an email to employees... letting them know that COO Tim Cook would be taking over for an unspecified period of time.
We gathered images of Jobs through the years to use in our coverage. I admit that I would not have recognized pre-2004 pictures of the man had he had not stuck to such a strict dress code. Apple aficionados know he was battling pancreatic cancer by then.
Jobs' appearance has been scrutinized for clues about his wellbeing ever since. In 2008, investors even demanded full disclosure of his health status on the lines that the company's share price is somewhat tied to its CEO. The timing of today's announcement can be seen as no coincidence. U.S. stock markets are closed for a holiday... and Apple puts out its highly anticipated quarterly results on Tuesday (though after the closing bell).
In many minds, Jobs is Apple. But the company has done fine even during the time he was not at the helm. Jobs announced a 6-month leave of absence on January 14, 2009. If you take a look at Apple's stock you'll see it has been on an upward path ever since.
Jobs' letter to his staff ended with these words, ""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."