Steve Jobs is set to return to Apple on schedule at the end of June, "people familiar with Apple" tell the Wall Street Journal. He might also end up at the company's developer's conference next week, the paper said.
Writes the Journal:
Two people who do business with Apple said senior Apple managers have told them the company is now trying to coordinate Mr. Jobs's return with a product launch or public event.
The prospect of a public return by Apple's CEO, following a six-month medical leave, will no doubt help build buzz for the company's developer event, where Apple is expected to launch a new iPhone into a barrage of free publicity.
But the inside information leaked to the Journal also helps highlight how traumatic Jobs' health scare has been for him and his company — despite past indications to the contrary.
Apple once attributed Jobs' rail-thin appearance to a "common bug." When later announcing his medical leave, Jobs avoided disclosing the seriousness of the situation, saying he was leaving due to the complexity of his health issues and even because of the distracting "curiosity" over them."
But things got pretty bad, at least according to the Journal's well-placed source. Select members of Apple's board received weekly updates about his condition, a "person familiar with the matter" told the paper, and they wouldn't have all been pretty:
He was one real sick guy... Fundamentally he was starving to death over a nine-month period. He couldn't digest protein. [But] he took corrective action.
From a PR standpoint, it seems unlikely Apple's directors and executives would want Jobs up on any stage until he looks as healthy as he feels. But the CEO is notoriously headstrong about these sorts of things. If he wants to show up Monday, he will.