If the past is any indication, Tim Cook’s mastery of inventory management and his high expectations of employees should leave Apple Inc. in good hands while its charismatic leader, Steve Jobs, takes a medical leave of absence, the Associated Press reports. Apple said Monday that Cook, the chief operating officer, will take charge of the iPhone and iPad maker as Jobs focuses on his health. Unlike Jobs’ half-year medical leave in 2009, during which he specified he’d return to work at the end of June and stuck to it, Apple did not say when, if ever, Jobs would return as CEO. That means Cook, 50, considered a logical eventual successor to Jobs, 55, could be in charge for a long time, perhaps permanently…

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