Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011: The world pays tribute

Leading figures in the tech industry, and even President Obama, flocked online to express their admiration for the visionary boss. Here are their kind words for Steve Jobs who died aged 56 on 5 October 2011. 

Tim Cook, Apple CEO in a letter to Apple staff:

"Team, I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today. 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. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email rememberingsteve@apple.com. No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much."

Apple Board of Directors:

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts."

Steve Jobs' family: 

"Steve Jobs’ family today made the following statement regarding his death: Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family. In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories. We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief."

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple:

Barack Obama official twitter feed:

"Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. From all of us at #Obama2012, thank you for the work you make possible every day—including ours."

President Obama himself:

"Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. 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. 

By building one of the planet's most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, 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.

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."

Steve Balmmer, Microsoft CEO:

“I want to express my deepest condolences at the passing of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of our industry and a true visionary. My heart goes out to his family, everyone at Apple and everyone who has been touched by his work.”

Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman:

“Today is very sad for all of us. Steve defined a generation of style and technology that’s unlikely to be matched again. Steve was so charismatically brilliant that he inspired people to do the impossible, and he will be remembered as the greatest computer innovator in history.”

Sergey Brin, founder of Google on Google+:

"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."

Larry Page, Google founder on 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 and Google's are with his family and the whole Apple family."

Bill Gates:

"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." 

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft:

'My condolences to Steve Jobs’ family and friends. We’ve lost a unique tech pioneer and auteur who knew how to make amazingly great products. Steve fought a long battle against tough odds in a very brave way. He kept doing amazing things in the face of all that adversity. As someone who has had his own medical challenges, I couldn’t help but be encouraged by how he persevered." 

Mark Zuckerberg via Facebook:

"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."

Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia: 

“The world lost a true visionary today. Steve’s passion for simplicity and elegance leaves us all a legacy that will endure for generations. Today, my thoughts, and those of everyone at Nokia are with the friends and family that he leaves behind.”

Michael Dell, via Twitter:

"Today the world lost a visionary leader, the technology industry lost an iconic legend and I lost a friend and fellow founder. The legacy of Steve Jobs will be remembered for generations to come. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to the Apple team,"

Stephen Fry:

"Woke to the news of Steve Jobs's death. He changed the world. I knew him a little and admired him entirely. Love to Apple and his family."

Mike Bloomberg, New York City Mayor:

"Tonight, America lost a genius who will be remembered with Edison and Einstein, and whose ideas will shape the world for generations to come. Again and again over the last four decades, Steve Jobs saw the future and brought it to life long before most people could even see the horizon. And 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 civilization. In New York City's government, everyone from street construction inspectors to NYPD detectives have harnessed Apple's products to do their jobs more efficiently and intuitively. Tonight our City – a city that has always had such respect and admiration for creative genius – joins with people around the planet in remembering a great man and keeping Laurene and the rest of the Jobs family in our thoughts and prayers."

John Hodgman, Comedian who played PC in Mac vs PC adverts via Twitter:

"Thank you, Steve."

Dick Costlo, CEO of Twitter:

"Once in a rare while, somebody comes along who doesnt just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement. #RIPSteveJobs"

Sean Parker, Napster, Facebook, Spotify:

"Today is an incredibly sad day for me, and indeed for anyone who considers themselves a technologist or entrepreneur. It is also a sad day for anyone who believes in the value of creativity and the importance of innovation, and for the millions of people who were touched by the creative genius evidenced in the many products and companies created by Steve Jobs throughout his remarkable career. Steve Jobs was the most important technology leader of our era—perhaps even the most important business leader of our era. He was also a unique figure in the world of business and technology, a man who demonstrated—more so than any other—that pure force of will, energy, and creative drive can change the world for the better 

I never had the privilege of meeting Steve Jobs, and this somber fact may be the greatest regret of my entire life. Indeed, for as long as I can remember Steve Jobs has been my personal hero. I grew up with an interest in both technology and aesthetics; admiring Jobs’ work from a distance and dreaming about someday becoming an entrepreneur myself. I was a programmer who thought about the transformational power of technology, and an aspiring product designer who thought about what it meant to create perfect user interfaces. I recall reading about Jobs’ early career, his creative drive, vision, and iconoclastic style. Later on I watched in awe as Jobs regained control of Apple, the company he founded decades earlier, in what may have been the greatest second act in the history of business. He was a revolutionary thinker in the world of technology, a legend to me and to millions of others, and yet in a deeply personal way, he represented exactly the sort of person I always wanted to someday become.

For years I had considered reaching out to Steve Jobs through our various mutual friends. But something always stopped me...for unlike most of the heroes of my childhood, Steve Jobs never underwent the demystification that befalls our idols when we achieve success and begin to recognize the flaws and complex humanity that lay behind the illusions of idolatry. Steve Jobs remained for me a towering figure in the annals of history, one whose genius and sometimes tragic setbacks had been the primary inspiration and guiding light for me in my own career.

In recent weeks I felt a grave sense of urgency: the last idol of my childhood, the one man whose energy, passion, vision, strength of will, and determination in the face of adversity, may not be long for this world. And despite admiring his work from afar, I had never had a chance to meet him, to confide in him that he had been the inspiration for everything I had ever set out to do in my life. Steve Jobs gave me hope that taking the path less traveled could lead to greatness. Hope that someone with clarity of vision and strength of conviction, despite not fitting perfectly within the mold established by other business leaders, could not only be a groundbreaking innovator, but also experience success on an almost unimaginable scale.

Despite never having met, my relationship to this mythical man has been a complex one. It was Napster and the explosion of mp3-encoded music that paved the way for the creation of the iPod over a decade ago. And more recently, one of my companies, Spotify, has been locked in a difficult struggle over the future of music distribution with Apple, one that has pitted the two companies against each other in private negotiations at the highest levels of government and commerce. More than ever, I wanted to tell Steve Jobs that, despite whatever he may have heard about me from our mutual friends and partners at the record labels, it was his life and work alone that had put me on this entrepreneurial path to begin with.

At a time when America had lost its heroes, it was not until today that I lost mine: he was and will always be Steve Jobs."

Richard Branson:

"Woke this morning to hear the sad news that Steve Jobs has lost his battle with cancer. He was a truly great businessman but more than that he was an inspiration to young people, entrepreneurs, inventors, designers, early adopters, budding musicians, and people with disabilities who discovered with Apple's devices a way to engage with the world.

So many people drew courage from Steve and related to his life story: adoptees, college drop-outs, struggling entrepreneurs, ousted business leaders figuring out how to make a difference in the world, and people fighting debilitating illness. We have all been there in some way and can see a bit of ourselves in his personal and professional successes and struggles.

He inspired with his direct message 'Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life...have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.' And yet, despite all his success - he never forgot what was really important in life and was a much loved family man. My thoughts are with Laurene and his family. He will be sorely missed."

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL:

"I feel honored to have known Steve Jobs. He was the most innovative entrepreneur of our generation. His legacy will live on for the ages."

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com via Twitter:

"Steve Jobs was the greatest leader our industry has ever known. We are all blessed by his life. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google:

"The tech industry lost an amazing, world-changing person today. Rest in peace, Steve."

Markus Spiering, head of product at Flickr via Twitter:

"What can you possibly say about a man who helped changed the way we think about technology and who was taken away far too early? You just say thank you. Thanks, Steve."

Brandon Watson, Microsoft via Twitter:

"100 Alderaans just blew up"

Eric Lin, HTC via Twitter:

"Even in the @htc offices, we are dumbstruck by the loss. goodbye, Steve."

Philip Bloom, Photographer:

"RIP Steve Jobs. Thank you for all that you did. #visionary #RipSteveJobs"

Armin van Buuren

"RIP Steve Jobs You will be missed!!" 

RIP - Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011



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