Questions abound as Jobs takes sick leave from Apple

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) co-founder/chief executive Steve Jobs' decision to take a year's medical leave of absence has stirred a maelstrom of questions about how the move will impact not only Apple but the companies with which it does business and competes.

Jobs has been fighting health issues and received a liver transplant two years ago which apparently has left him susceptible to ups and downs. The company itself would have no comment beyond the fact that Jobs was turning daily oversight to COO Timothy Cook. Jobs told his staff in a message that "my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy."

That might be tough to do since the high-profile Jobs has been credited with Apple's aggressive approach into new media, including the iPod, iPhone, iPad and, perhaps not as successfully, Apple TV. His absence, no matter how long, is worrisome because "he may be the most vital CEO of our era," Michael Useem, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School told The New York Times.

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- the New York Times has this story

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