Apple just announced that CEO and mastermind Steve Jobs is taking a "medical leave of absence." That sounds bad.

In a statement to employees this morning, Jobs said:

"At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as C.E.O. and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company."

The statement continued: "I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple's day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011. I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy."

Jobs is still recovering from a liver transplant less than two years ago. Tim Cook is the company's chief operating officer and a longtime Jobs deputy. Apple stock is already down overseas on the news.

[Photo: Getty]