Larry Page's continuing voice problems likely not critical, doctor says

The length of time Google CEO Larry Page has exhibited voice problems suggests the condition may linger, but probably isn’t something investors should worry about, one voice specialist concluded Wednesday.

Page, whose weak voice prompted widespread concern in July, still sounded hoarse and out of breath during a Tuesday conference call with analysts to discuss the Mountain View company’s latest earnings. That suggests his problem may be long-term, said Dr. Clark Rosen, director of the University of Pittsburgh Voice Center.

With most voice problems, “usually you get some resolution within six months,”  Rosen said. But that doesn’t mean Page’s condition is life threatening or otherwise debilitating, he added, noting that he can only speculate about the nature of Page’s ailment.

“I think it’s reasonable to state this is probably a chronic condition that won’t get worse,” but might continue, Rosen said, adding that a variety of factors can cause voice problems, including polyps, lesions, scar tissue and cancer.

Some industry observers have expressed concern about Page’s voice, given what happened to former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who died from pancreatic cancer.

However, while pancreatic cancer is commonly fatal, Rosen said, “having a voice condition — unless it’s cancerous — usually does not kill you. And if it was cancer, he would have had treatment within six months for sure and is now probably in stable condition.”

Google declined to comment on Page’s condition.

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Steve Johnson covers the microchip industry, cyber security and the big-technology sector that includes Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Cisco Systems.