Warren Buffett says Apple has been too secretive about the health problems facing CEO Steve Jobs.
In a live interview today on CNBC, Buffett backed recent criticism of the company for not immediately disclosing that Jobs received a liver transplant several months ago.
"If I have any serious illness, or something coming up of an important nature, an operation or anything like that, I think the thing to do is just tell the American, the Berkshire shareholders about it. I work for 'em. Some people might think I'm important to the company. Certainly Steve Jobs is important to Apple. So it's a material fact. Whether he is facing serious surgery or not is a material fact. Whether I'm facing serious surgery is a material fact. Whether (General Electric CEO) Jeff Immelt is, I mean, so I think that's important to get out. They're going to find out about it anyway so I don't see a big privacy issue or anything of the sort."
Buffett's repeated use of the phrase "material fact" indicates he may believe Apple violated the law by not disclosing that Jobs would be having the surgery.
The government defines a material fact as something that a reasonable investor would want to know when making an investment decision, and companies are required to disclose "material" information in a timely way.
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