Steve Jobs is NOT dead.

Let me repeat that…not dead. Still very much alive…and hopefully will be for many years to come.

Let me repeat that…not dead. Still very much alive…and hopefully will be for many years to come.

But for a brief moment last night, apparently, readers of the Bloomberg wire service might have thought otherwise.

Gawker has the whole story, of Bloomberg inadvertently running the Apple CEO’s obituary last night. As a former Bloomberger myself I can tell you a few things about this. First – this kind of mistake is relatively easy to make. The wires are built for speed, and putting something on the wire rather than saving it to a hard drive somewhere is a matter of one editor hitting a couple of incorrect buttons. That said, Bloomberg news honcho Matt Winkler is no doubt warming up one of his legendary freak outs. Matt just doesn’t ever think there is a reasonable excuse for mistakes like this. His attitude is simple and uncompromising: being fast is no excuse for being wrong, and being right is no excuse for being slow. He wants it lightning fast and absolutely 100% correct EVERY, SINGLE, TIME. It makes him kinda hard to work for. It also makes Bloomberg a pretty fine news organization. Word has it Matt has begun to mellow, and others are gaining more influence over the ‘berg. But this? I think this will put the boss into search-and-destroy mode.

However, I have to say I think this is another example of how Apple’s silence on the subject of Jobs’ health is hurting shareholders. People are super sensitive about any rumour that Jobs is sick because a) Jobs looks sick and b) Jobs has been very sick before, and the company wasn’t entirely forthcoming about it, and c) the company (and jobs himself) still refuse to fully explain what’s going on.

I understand the right to privacy. But Jobs is a public figure and people have a lot of money riding on him. If they were totally open and transparent, something like the accidental appearance of an obviously-incomplete obituary wouldn’t be a big deal. But with Apple, it is a big deal.