New York Times – To the ranks of chief executives who blame those terrible meanies who run hedge funds for their troubles — Jeffrey Skilling at Enron, say, or Jimmy Cayne at Bear Stearns, or Patrick Byrne at Overstock.com — we can now add a new name: the one and only Steve Jobs. According to Jim Goldman, who interviewed Mr. Jobs today on CNBC after his latest razzle-dazzle product announcement, the Apple chief executive said the rumors that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer came from “hedge funds with a big short position in Apple.”
Let’s quickly review the facts: In June, Mr. Jobs, who survived pancreatic cancer four years ago, appeared at an Apple developer’s conference looking gaunt and haggard. Naturally, investors worried that the cancer had returned. At first, Apple’s public relations folks lied — saying he had a common bug. Then, the company refused to say anything at all, even when asked during a conference call by an analyst. “Steve’s health is a private matter,” was the party line.
So today, Mr. Jobs appeared on stage under a sign that read, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” before plugging the latest iteration of iPods. These fairly minor product announcements got enormous attention as a result. So apparently, during marketing events at least, he is willing to put aside his privacy concerns. Interesting.