Steve Jobs, Apple cofounder and former CEO, has died at the age of 56 after a long battle with cancer. A visionary and inspiration to millions, his influence was far reaching, as demonstrated by the mourning in the tech world and beyond of a life cut short.
Shortly after the news began to circulate, Apple’s homepage became a tribute to Jobs in the classic, tasteful spirit Jobs nurtured throughout his time at the helm.
Shortly after, Google’s homepage displayed a link to the Apple homepage tribute with Jobs’ name as anchor text.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin actually wanted Jobs to be the first Google CEO, a position which was later filled by Eric Schmidt. Page and Brin each posted messages on Google+ expressing their sympathies and feelings of loss for their hero:
“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.” – Larry Page
“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
Schmidt, now Google’s Executive Chairman, called Jobs the “greatest tech entrepreneur in history,” in an interview on Bloomberg TV (as spotted by The Next Web). Schmidt added that Jobs was “our country’s greatest innovator. He cared the way an artist cares about every brush stroke. … Gifts that Steve has given us will continue for many years.”
Schmidt was a former Apple board member. Upon Jobs stepping down as Apple’s CEO in August, Schmidt said Jobs was the country’s best CEO and the most successful U.S. CEO of the past 25 years. He “uniquely combined an artist’s touch and an engineer’s vision to build an extraordinary company, one of the greatest American leaders in history,” Schmidt said.
Google Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra, who heads up Google+, simply wrote, “Rest in peace, Steve. You changed the world, inspired us all.” He also reposted a story about Jobs, in which he called him “one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook released the following email to employees Wednesday:
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 [email protected]
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.
Jobs’ family released the following statement late Wednesday:
“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 had this to say to ABC News: “I’m shocked and disturbed.”
President Barack Obama and wife Michelle offered their condolences and noted the loss of a visionary:
“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.”
Bill Gates released the following statement about his rival of more than 30 years:
“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.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger released a statement late Wednesday, mourning the loss of a man he considered a part of the Disney family and a great friend:
“Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. 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, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.”
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also posted a statement:
“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.”
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg also posted about Jobs:
”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.”
Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang also discussed Jobs:
“Steve was my hero growing up. He not only gave me a lot of personal advice and encouragement, he showed all of us how innovation can change lives. I will miss him dearly, as will the world.”
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also paid tribute to Jobs on Twitter (following the news of Jobs’ death, #iSad and #ThankYouSteve became trending topics on Twitter) via a tweet:
“Once in a rare while, somebody comes along who doesnt just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement. #RIPSteveJobs”
Here at Search Engine Watch, we would like to offer our condolences to Steve’s family, friends, and his extended community. He touched the lives of many, even while shying away from publicity in an effort to protect his family. Jobs was many things to many people; dreamer, pioneer, dictator, competitor, mentor. Father. Husband. Neighbor.
To entrepreneurs, geeks, inventors, techies and students, Jobs was larger than life; a force we could only hope to emulate, but his reach went so much farther than that. People mourn as though we’ve lost a world leader. We have.
Steve Jobs was a game changer. He helped shape the world as it is today and will be in the future. There are no words. We’ll leave you with his own: