"Dear Apple Community," Jobs wrote. "For the first time in a decade, I'm getting to spend the holiday season with my family, rather than intensely preparing for a MacWorld keynote. Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the MacWorld keynote set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed. I've decided to share something very personal with the Apple community so that we can all relax and enjoy the show tomorrow."
Apple's shares, which had been hit by the rumblings about Jobs' health and the bad economy, jumped 4 percent Monday to close at $94.80.
But here's what the letter didn't say: It didn't say what caused the hormone imbalance. It didn't say Jobs' cancer -- which he was treated for in 2004 -- hasn't returned. Just that he's recuperating from the hormone imbalance and expects to "recover" by late spring.
So far, the most skeptical report came from U.S. News & World Report, which said, "His statement is anything but simple and straightforward." They called a number of doctors not treating Jobs. All of the doctors suggested the hormone imbalance might be "related to Jobs' bout with pancreatic cancer" or the emergence of a new tumor.
Has Jobs' cancer recurred? WWD e-mailed a publicist to ask, but no response was forthcoming from Apple.
This isn't exactly out of the ordinary -- the enigmatic computer maker puts the Bush administration to shame freezing out journalists it doesn't want to deal with -- but it isn't reassuring either. If Jobs doesn't have cancer, why not just say it?