Apple nixes Jobs succession plan

Apple Inc. shareholders grill management on the health of CEO Steve Jobs and other issues at the company's annual shareholder meeting Wednesday.
Three pictures taken in 2010 show Apple CEO Steve Jobs in January, July and October. His health has been the object of speculation since Apple announced in January that he would take a medical leave of absence for the second time in two years. ((Associated Press))
Apple sent out invites to an event on March 2 that hint at a new iPad release. (PCMag) ((PCMag))

Apple Inc. shareholders grilled management on the health of CEO Steve Jobs and other issues at the annual shareholder meeting Wednesday at company headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Jobs, now on a medical leave of absence, did not attend the morning meeting. Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, who is taking charge of Apple's day-to-day operations, led the meeting.

A group of influential investors is lobbying the maker of the iPhone and iPad for an update on Jobs's health.

They also want the company to provide a public succession plan to take some of the stock's volatility away.

The Illinois-based Laborers' International Union, which owns more than 11,000 Apple shares, pushed to have a binding succession plan on the meeting agenda.

Early reports indicate shareholders voted down that proposal. Preliminary voting results announced at the meeting did not provide the voting breakdown.

Apple said in January that Jobs, who co-founded the company in 1976, would take an indefinite medical leave for unspecified problems. The leave could be related to his previous bout with pancreatic cancer or his 2009 liver transplant.

Analysts have not been optimistic Jobs will resume his CEO duties, partly because he didn't set a timetable for his return. Before his liver transplant, Jobs took a leave of absence from January through June 2009.

Jobs had surgery to remove a tumour in 2004 — for a rare and very treatable form of pancreatic cancer — but never said whether it had spread to his lymph nodes or how extensive the operation was.

Health questions were expected to dominate the shareholder meeting, but management is also being pushed for details about the company's much-anticipated second-generation iPad tablet computer.

Reports this week suggest the company could release the device as early as March 2.

Technology news site PCMag showed off an invitation it received Wednesday, announcing an event March 2 and hinting that iPad news was forthcoming.

"Please join Apple on March 2 for a Special Event," the invite reads, with the upper right corner peeling off to show what appears to be an iPad. "Come see what 2011 will be the year of."

The new version is expected to contain a camera, better screens and possibly even new sizes.

The company has sold 15 million iPads since their release last April.

With files from The Associated Press