CNBC Silicon Valley bureau chief Jim Goldman is having a tough week. Goldman said in December that “sources inside [Apple] tell me that Jobs’ decision was more about politics than his pancreas.” Ah, but this week, Apple announced that Jobs was sick and would be taking a 5-month medical leave of absence as a result.
What to do when faced with such damning evidence that eviscerates your prior reporting? Get mad at anyone who calls you on it and be completely shocked that a company would mislead journalists with such gall, apparently. Newsweek columnist Dan Lyons (formerly Fake Steve Jobs) took Goldman to task on a CNBC appearance this evening — one that apparently got him banned from the network for life.
But forget Lyons, a mere print journalist, for a minute. Dylan Ratigan, a fellow CNBC reporter and host of Fast Money, ripped into slightly shocked Goldman on an appearance this afternoon — but does get him to admit that Apple was deceptive, didn’t give “the whole truth,” and that Goldman really doesn’t know anything other than what Apple has told him.
“I cannot believe that Steve Jobs’ health circumstances have changed so dramatically and become so dire in just a week’s time from the last time we heard anything from them.” No kidding, Jim. Maybe you should have been a little more skeptical of the press releases that Apple was issuing, rather than just taking them at face value. Anyone who’s been following Apple for more than a week and a half knows the company rarely comes clean on much of anything, never mind something as serious as this.
Steve Jobs’ health has a direct effect on the price of AAPL’s stock. Some say there is a 20% “Jobs bump” — that is, 20% of Apple’s stock price is directly the result of Jobs being CEO. I don’t know if 20% is accurate, but the stock taking a more than 6% hit in after-hours trading shows that Jobs taking a leave of absence shows his health was material information and probably should have been disclosed.
Questions of who at Apple knew what, and when they knew it will probably be played out in the shareholder lawsuits that are assuredly coming.
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