Steve Jobs

SAN FRANCISCO, October 6, 2011 (AFP) – President Barack Obama and top technology giants such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg led tributes from around the world Wednesday to late visionary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

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.

From across the Pacific, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard hailed Jobs as a “genius” and global innovator who changed the world.

“All of us would be touched every day by products that he was the creative genius behind, so this is very sad news and my condolences go to his family and friends,” Gillard told reporters in Canberra.

“It’s not too much to say he literally changed our world,” she said, describing him as “an incredible global innovator.”

And Job’s impact on other technology titans was far-reaching.

“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,” Microsoft’s Bill Gates said in a 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 honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Fellow Internet trailblazer and Facebook founder 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,” said Walt Disney Company president Robert Iger.

Media and technology commentator Jeff Jarvis tweeted of Jobs: “We have lost our Gutenberg, Edison, Picasso, Carnegie…. “

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who built his personal empire on business, media and technology, said Jobs 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.

Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook, who took the company helm in August, 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.

Cook urged readers to share their memories of Jobs via e-mail at

His Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told CNN that he was “dumfounded” by news of the death Wednesday of his former partner Steve Jobs, and compared it to the death of former Beatle John Lennon.

“I’m a little bit, like, awestruck, just dumfounded, and I can’t put my mind into gear, I can’t do things,” said Wozniak, 61, who founded Apple with Jobs in 1976.

“It’s kind of like when John Lennon died, or JFK .. I don’t think anyone else, maybe Martin Luther King,” he said.

Lennon was shot dead by a deranged fan in 1980, president John F. Kennedy was shot dead in 1963, and rights leader King was murdered in 1968.

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said Jobs “was able in his mind to imagine what would happen when things were 10 times faster or 100 times faster and start to think about how the technology evolves.”

Google paid tribute by putting a button with “Steve Jobs, 1955-2011” under its search engine window, along with a link to the Apple website.

Jobs died earlier Wednesday after a long fight against cancer. He was 56.