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SEC Reviewing Apple's Handling Of Jobs' Health Disclosures

Speculation about Jobs' health began last June when he appeared gaunt at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
U.S. regulators are reportedly reviewing Apple's disclosures about the health of chief executive Steve Jobs to determine whether investors were misled.

The Securities and Exchange Commission probe does not mean there's evidence of any wrongdoing, the Bloomberg news service reported Wednesday. Nevertheless, investors have been frustrated with Apple's less-than-candid disclosures that have sparked rumors and led to drops in the company's stock price.

The SEC declined to comment to InformationWeek or publicly elsewhere about the investigation, which was confirmed to Bloomberg by a person the agency said is familiar with the matter.

Speculation about Jobs' health began last June when he appeared gaunt at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Jobs underwent surgery in 2004 for a rare form of pancreatic cancer and has recently suffered from complications.

In June, an Apple spokeswoman answering questions about Jobs' appearance said he suffered from a "common bug." Jobs later said he was suffering from a "hormonal imbalance" that caused weight loss.

This month, Jobs, 53, said he learned that his health issues were "more complex" than he originally thought and would take a six-month leave of absence from Apple. Jobs, however, said he would continue to be involved in major company decisions. While Jobs is on leave, Tim Cook, chief operating officer, will handle day-to-day operations.

Normally, a chief executive's health does not have a major impact on stock price, since a company's executive team is usually capable of running the operation smoothly. Apple is an exception, because the company's success over the last few years is seen as the result of co-founder Jobs' vision and strategy.

Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 after being bounced from the company about 10 years earlier. During his second tenure, Jobs elevated the money-losing company to its current status as a highly successful computer and consumer electronics manufacturer.