Tech titans lead tributes to Steve Jobs
San Francisco - Giants of technology from Microsoft's Bill Gates to Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg led the tributes to visionary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died at 56.
"Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives," Gates said in a written statement.
"The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely."
Fellow internet-age trailblazer and Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on a Facebook posting: "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."
Jobs was even credited with raising the standard for animated films by bringing his vision to Pixar, a movie studio he founded while exiled for a time from Apple due to an internal conflict.
"Steve was such an 'original', with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original," said Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert A Iger.
US President Barack Obama mourned Jobs as one of America's "greatest innovators" and said it was fitting many people learned of his death on a device he invented.
"He transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: He changed the way each of us sees the world," Obama said in a written statement.
"Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it," Obama said. "By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who built his personal empire on business and technology, said Jobs had changed the world by helping put information and power in countless millions of hands.
"Tonight, America lost a genius who will be remembered with Edison and Einstein, and whose ideas will shape the world for generations to come," Bloomberg said.
"Steve's passionate belief in the power of technology to transform the way we live brought us more than smart phones and iPads: It brought knowledge and power that is reshaping the face of civilisation."
Apple's new CEO Tim Cook called Jobs a "creative genius" and "inspiring mentor".
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor," said Cook, who took the company helm in August.
"Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
Cook said the company was planning "a celebration of Steve's extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon", and urged readers to share their memories of Jobs via e-mail at email@example.com.
Jobs died earlier on Wednesday after a long fight against cancer.