Apple chief takes medical leave

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is
taking medical leave, raising fresh concerns about his health two years after
taking a six-month leave during which he underwent a liver transplant.

Jobs, who previously battled
pancreatic cancer, has again handed Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook the
day-to-day reins at Apple.

Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976,
said in a memo to staff that he would continue to be Apple’s CEO and would take
part in major strategic decisions.

“At my request, the board of
directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my
health,” Jobs, 55, wrote. “I love Apple so much and hope to be back
as soon as I can.”

This is the third time in the last
decade that Jobs has reduced his role at Apple because of his health. He also
took medical leave in 2004.

Jobs is critical to Apple.

He is deeply enmeshed in the
company’s business, making key product decisions. The chief executive is
inextricably linked to the company, credited with reviving its flagging fortunes
in 1996 when he returned after a 12-year hiatus. He oversaw hit products such
as the iMac and, more recently, the iPod, iPhone and iPad.