Steve Jobs Takes Medical Leave

NEW YORK Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave from Apple until the end of June as his medical condition is “more complex” than originally thought, he said in a note to staff Wednesday.

With the CEO sidelined, COO Tim Cook will take over the day-to-day operations of the tech giant.

“In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June,” Jobs wrote in his note. “As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.”

According to Apple’s Web site, Cook has been responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations and also heads the Macintosh division. Before Apple, Cook held executive posts at Compaq and IBM, among others.

Following the Jobs update, Apple’s stock fell sharply in after-hours and hit levels below its 52-week low of $79.14. During the regular trading session Wednesday, the stock lost 2.7 percent to $85.33.

Only last week, Jobs said he would continue to fulfill his job functions as CEO despite suffering from a hormone imbalance. He didn’t provide specifics on Wednesday as to why his situation is now seen as “more complex.”

Investors have speculated about his health since he lost weight last year, but Jobs has never discussed his condition in full. In 2004, he had announced a successful surgery to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer.