A visionary, a great entrepreneur and the “leading light” of the digital age: some of the most prominent names in the tech industry and beyond have joined in praised Apple’s Steve Jobs, who passed away yesterday at the age of 56. Uncompromising and focused, Jobs was responsible in no small part for a ground shift in computing, and his death has prompted an outpouring of tributes in the hours since the announcement. We’ve gathered together some of the comments that have particularly caught our attention, as we think on what Jobs achieved in his time with us.
Microsoft co-founder and current chairman Bill Gates was for many years pitted as Jobs’ arch rival, and points out that he and the Apple founder were “colleagues, competitors and friends” for more than half their lives:
“I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.
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.
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 honor. I will miss Steve immensely.” Bill Gates, chairman, Microsoft
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told the BBC that Jobs’ strength was in”the little details, the tiny little nuances between one product or another.” He would remember him for “knowing what made sense in a product” and Jobs’ “very quick mind”. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama describes Jobs as “a visionary”:
“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.” President Obama
Sergey Brin and Larry Paige, Google co-founders, highlight Jobs’ focus on user experience and his “passion for excellence”:
“From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met. On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.” Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google
“I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well. My thoughts are with his family and the whole Apple family.” Larry Paige, CEO and co-founder, Google
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, emphasizes the potential world-changing power that technology can have, a reminder that, just because we may not all own an iPhone or other Apple product, the technology we do use inevitably bears some element of its design or concept to products Jobs had a hand in.
“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.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
Apple and Samsung have, most recently, been locked in fierce legal battles over innovation and design, but CEO Choi Gee-sung of the Korean company put that aside to praise Jobs’ “revolutionary” input to the industry and his “innovative spirit”:
“Samsung Electronics is saddened to hear of Chairman Steve Jobs’ passing and would like to extend our deepest condolences.
Chairman Steve Jobs introduced numerous revolutionary changes to the information technology industry and was a great entrepreneur.
His innovative spirit and remarkable accomplishments will forever be remembered by people around the world. We would like to again express our sincerest condolences to Mr. Jobs’ family and his colleagues” Choi Gee-sung, CEO, Samsung Electronics
Sony was said to be Jobs’ great inspiration, with one-time Apple CEO John Sculley claiming in an interview last year that the Japanese company became “Steve’s point of reference” for the setup of the Macintosh factories and the focus on design and build quality. Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer suggests that Jobs’ own legacy will be one of inspiration:
“The digital age has lost its leading light, but Steve’s innovation and creativity will inspire dreamers and thinkers for generations” Sir Howard Stringer, CEO, Sony
Meanwhile, popular web comic xkcd (make sure to mouseover the picture for the alt text) commemorated Jobs in its own bittersweet way, one of numerous online tributes (including the wide-spread “Thanks Steve” Apple logo at the top of the page, a design by art student Jonathan Mak). Finally, 9 to 5 Mac dug up a video of Apple’s first “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” commercial, where Steve Jobs narrates the iconic advert. It seems a fitting way to remember a man who had a huge impact on an industry we love.