Talk about poking a hornet's nest: Nothing generates more reader feedback than a post about Apple . Mix in some Steve Jobs, speculation, rumors, a dash of innuendo, and bingo, you've got yourself a kind of magic eyeball catcher!
Since Monday, Apple's earnings day, the NY Post speculation (re: rumor-mongering?), Silicon Alley, then the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNBC and the Fast Money guys speculating about Jobs' absence on the conference call (he's NEVER on the conference call), and hundreds of blogs have all weighed in on Jobs and his weight loss.
What's right, what's wrong as far as Apple's treatment of this issue; fiduciary responsibility against material news against prurient curiosity. I've written, ad nauseum, my thoughts on the whole thing, which seems to have rubbed some of you the wrong way. It took me a while to get there, but I believe that if Apple has material news to share, it will. If there is no material news to share, that likely means Jobs is still capable of handling his day-to-day management of the company and we should err on taking Apple at its word, until we're given a firm reason not to.
So, here's a sampling of the flood of emails I've received about the topic, my coverage, and your feelings about it all.
"Thanks for interjecting today on Fast Money," writes Robert O'Neill. "I came in after a meeting to watch today's episode and couldn't believe what I was hearing. It reminded me of my daughter's kindergarten class when her teacher would step out of the room... Complete chaos." There were 47 emails thanking me for interjecting.
The lone voice against that phone call came from Jarret Turbin who unloaded on me, calling me "pathetic," and proclaiming that "It's pretty clear that Jobs either has you on the payroll or that you have a ton of Apple stock in your 401(k)." Not true on either front. Don't own a single share of Apple. Never have. "Pretty soon the CNBC producers are gonna realize they need a more rational 'bureau chief' (what a BS title by the way) than you." Well, almost six years and counting. So far so good, Jarret.
Patrick writes to say, "Jim Goldman is perhaps the lone voice of reason today. Thanks Jim."
David offers, "A welcome posting about Mr. Jobs' health, especially the acknowledgment that as long as Mr. Jobs is healthy, then his health is a private matter. Excellent point."
Don says, "So frustrating to see careless reporting every day...Thanks for your expose of this pathetic nonsense which permits the big guys to pick the pockets of the little guys."
Jakob, all the way in Austria, writes, "This is making me sick...How can a CEO ignore his shareholders and don't care about the stock price of his company?"
Greg writes, "The only useful info for investors is either, 'I'm staying,' which (Jobs) says loud and clear, or 'I'm leaving,' since anything else about length of working life ahead is a guess. Since he isn't leaving, we just have to live with uncertainty."
From Zeke: "You get so used to the insanity lately, that I had to do a double-take when I read Jim Goldman's article this morning. Balanced, factual -- what's going on here?"
Dan D. asks, "Why does virtually everyone in the business press and on the "Street" hate Apple? It's a great company with outstanding products and financials...The short interest in Apple was typical of a hedge fund hatchet job. No wonder real investors are sitting on the sidelines."
Joel writes, "Thank you for repeatedly being the most accurate, sane and logical tech reporter out there. Your story about the Steve Jobs report was a perfect example of your excellent work. There are many of us that appreciate and trust you greatly. Please don't stop reporting the truth."
Jerry sent this: "Nicely balanced analysis. Given all the past publicity, the SEC scrutiny, etc., a rational person would think that Apple should understand that it is required to disclose material events. No disclosure means no existing material events. We can all be hit by buses at any time but we don't tell everyone we deal with that we are potentially in danger. Steve Jobs should not have to either."
Jim writes, "I found Mr. Goldman's analysis right on. I don't know if he has a background in the law but his opinion does accurately reflect the fact that Apple is under no legal duty to disclose Job's state of health if it is not affecting his ability to lead the company in a material way. In addition, I appreciated his balanced sensitivity to all parties concerned."
Stuart says, "I just wanted to personally say thank you for your down to earth ACTUAL reporting and not just rumor stirring. I hope your coverage of Apple and technology is around for years to come!"
Ross writes, "Amen, Brother. Thank you for a column based on facts and logic. You continue to stand out as a journalist stuck in a pack of fear mongerers ... and you've earned the same kind of trust Apple has made the core of its business (apologies for the bad pun)."
Zack has a decidedly different point of view: "Sounds like you protest too much. You believe everything Apple has told you about the stock options? Overall you sound defensive and protective of Apple. You're a journalist, that's not your role. The role of a journalist is not to believe, and proclaim that he trusts Apple. Your job is to be skeptical. How about doing some reporting?"
Says David: "What makes you think that anyone besides Steve Jobs actually knows what his health status is? The little we actually know about the history of Jobs illness suggests that it is quite possible for him to be in denial about it. In that case, nobody from Apple is likely to have any better information than the rest of us."
Another David, David L. writes: "Jobs is not a private citizen, but the president of a company that controls the destiny of millions of individuals who have invested in his company. His well-being is a valid concern of those shareholders. The fact that his recent appearance was not addressed directly, and in a definitive way, was, in fact, the cause of speculation that caused the, so called, rumors you mentioned. The fact that he looked in poor health was not a rumor, the fact that he had a bout with cancer recently is not a rumor. Do we need to know every medical issue that a CEO has; a hang-nail, indigestion, gas? Of course not, but a company only hurts itself. and their shareholders, by not immediately answering any potentially catastrophic health issues that may, or may not, be present."
And finally, from Jeff: "Kudos on keeping the facts in the news. It is noticed."
I value all of these comments. Thanks for sending. Please continue to do so. None of this is going away any time soon.
Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com