WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO Apple Inc Chief Executive Steve Jobs, who is on medical leave from the company, will attend a meeting in California on Thursday with U.S. President Barack Obama and other technology leaders.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Google Inc Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison, and Cisco Systems Chief Executive John Chambers will also attend the gathering in the San Francisco Bay Area, the White House said.
Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, stepped away from Apple on medical leave last month. It was the third time in seven years that Jobs has taken leave for health-related reasons.
The White House said Obama's meeting was an opportunity to discuss technology and job creation, after the president proposed a budget with more investment in innovation to boost U.S. growth. Obama will meet other technical innovators in Oregon on Friday.
The National Enquirer on Thursday published pictures that purported to show Jobs arriving at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California.
Shares of Apple slipped 1.5 percent.
A spokeswoman for Stanford Hospital declined to comment.
The company has declined to provide any details on his health, comment on the recent reports, or say when he might return from leave.
Jobs had surgery in 2004 for an unusual type of tumor on his pancreas called a neuroendocrine tumor. He had a liver transplant in 2009.
Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook is running Apple's day-to-day operations while Jobs is on leave.
Analysts noted that Jobs' health problems are widely known by investors, who are not likely to be shocked by rumors on the Internet.
"I find it puzzling that he would be on campus and 'working' from home if he was that sick," said Peter Misek, an analyst at Jefferies. "Seeing him go into a cancer treatment facility shouldn't be a surprise."
Jobs has been seen in recent weeks on Apple's campus in Cupertino, California. The company has said he will continue to be involved in major strategic decisions.
Obama is flying to San Francisco later on Thursday. In California, he is to meet with a number of business leaders in technology and innovation at a private residence, the White House said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "This is a part of our economy that has been a huge contributor to economic growth in the last several decades and we expect will continue to be."
Other attendees include Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo, Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings, Yahoo Chief Executive Carol Bartz, and John Doerr, a partner in venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The White House has been trying to improve its relations with the business community. Since his fellow Democrats were routed in mid-term congressional elections in November, the president has been making a concerted effort to heal a rift with the U.S. corporate community.
Thursday's meeting will address issues including how to strengthen the U.S. economy, support entrepreneurship and generate jobs in the United States, the White House said.
General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt, who was expected to attend and was chosen to head an outside panel of experts to give economic advise to the White House, will not be attending, a GE spokesman said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle)
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