Steve Jobs off on the sick

Apple's influential front-man Steve Jobs has announced that he is taking time off from the Cupertino company in order to get his personal health back on track.

In a brief statement, the messianic leader of the Apple faithful said: "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."

Jobs, who had a well-publicised liver transplant in March 2009, has looked thin and slightly feeble ever since and its clear to anyone who has seen him that his health is short of robust.

At that time, Apple shares took a bit of a nosedive as stock markets panicked about the Mac maker losing its rudder. Although Jobs will still be calling the shots, it looks like he's trying to avoid a replay of that unfortunate affair by being upfront about his intentions and putting a deputy in place from day one.

"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," the statement continues.

Despite Jobs' statement, the fact that he has given little detail about his current illness will no doubt cause a feeding frenzy amongst those members of the press not regularly bothered by goings-on at the surface of the pond, and at whom Steve aims his parting shot.

"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."

Love him or hate him, no-one can deny that Jobs has had a massive influence on the developement of computers, and technology in general, and the world would be a far less interesting place without him.

We wish him a successful recuperation and speedy return to Apple.