Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs may be on medical leave, but he’s the only part of the company that is ailing, according to quarterly figures released today.
During one of the worst holiday seasons in living memory, profits and sales at Apple Inc. jumped dramatically, with the company posting a 5.8 percent increase in sales and a 1.5 percent rise in profit, buoyed by healthy sales of Macintosh computers and iPhones. The result, which bucks the negative trend in the tech sector, took Apple across the $10 billion quarterly sales mark for the first time in its history and sent shares up by as much as 12 percent in late trading.
Casting a pall over Apple’s good news, however, are reports from Bloomberg and other outlets that the SEC has opened an inquiry into how the company handled its CEO’s health disclosures to investors. Jobs, who had successfully battled pancreatic cancer four years ago, found himself under public scrutiny after losing a great deal of weight, and eventually took medical leave after admitting to suffering from a hormonal imbalance.
The SEC inquiry does not indicate evidence of wrongdoing, and the Commission would have to show that Apple tried to hide a clear diagnosis, a taller order than proving that financial figures were fudged. But it does show that the SEC takes the matter seriously, especially in the wake of recent scandals like the Madoff affair.