Steve Jobs Announces Medical Leave Once More (AAPL)

In an internal memo to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) employees Apple CEO Steve Jobs has announced that he has taken medical leave again to focus on his health. Here is his full statement to Apple Inc. employees :

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 Apple’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 Jobs previously took a leave of absence from Apple after struggling with Pancreatic cancer, beating it and then requiring a liver transplant which was completed in 2009. During that time Apple kept the precise details of the health of its CEO to itself, which caused some uncertainty in the market, and brought Apple in for some criticism.

During that time, and again now, Tim Cook will managed the day to day affairs of Apple that Steve Jobs is normally directly responsible for. And did a great job. Steve will remain as CEO and continue to be involved in key strategic decisions whilst on medical leave.

Despite the fact that Apple’s earnings and cash reserves are stellar at this time, and it has at least 2 years worth of new products in the pipeline this is certain to cause uncertainty in the financial markets where Apple is concerned, again. The US banking system is on holiday today, for Martin Luther King day, but trading in AAPL in Europe and elsewhere is mixed today. When the US markets wake up tomorrow it is general expected that AAPL will drop, despite record earnings expected to be announced the same day for Q4 2010.

Apple’s shares traded in Frankfurt (AAPL.F) fell 7.5 percent by 1438 GMT, while futures for the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 0.3 and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Frankly it is pretty dumb that the markets react in this way to news of Jobs’ health. But that is the way of the world these days, unfortunately. AAPL is technically still undervalued even at its share price of $348 in the US as of this article being written.

Feel free to send your well wishes to Jobs’ in the comments below…

We certainly wish Steve all the best, and hope to see him back at the helm of Apple sooner rather than later.

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