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Steve Jobs' Medical Leave Slashes $15bn Off Apple's Market Capitalisation

The market capitalisation of Apple dropped by more than $15 billion as the company looks forward to the first day after its charismatic CEO Steve Jobs announced that he had requested medical leave to focus on his health.

This not only prompted questions about how Jobs is doing, but also cast a shadow on the future of the company, one where Steve Jobs, who has been instrumental to the launch of some of the most significant tech products of the last 10 years, might not be present.

The company shares are down by 4.71 per cent in pre-market trading, bringing Apple's market capitalisation tantalisingly close to the $300 billion level, which still leaves it as the biggest technology company in the world by quite a margin.

Jobs has taken some time off for a liver transplant in the past after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in 2004, and it is likely that his decision to take a few months off is linked to the aftermath.

This is unlikely to affect the immediate plans of the company with the iPad 2 and the iPhone 5 set to be launch in the next few months. Jobs will still be very much involved in the major decisions like steering the company towards a content powerhouse or making strategic acquisitions.

Truth be said, Steve Jobs couldn't possibly dream of a better time to take some time off from the helm of Apple. The company is more dominant than ever before and the next wave of products and services is likely to cement its domination.