Few men can move so many with their death as Steve Jobs, Apple's (AAPL) co-founder.

Like a shot heard round the world, news of Jobs' death on Wednesday resonated with the masses -- from the president of the United States to industry titans to Jobs' arch-rivals to the public in general. Their tributes not only offer insight into the impact Jobs had on other people's lives but serve also as a testament to the importance of innovation and the honor it deserves.

Here's a collection of tributes paid to Jobs.

As an Example of the Spirit of American Ingenuity

President Obama:
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.

As a role model among industry titans

Western Union (WU) CEO Hikmet Ersek: Steve Jobs was one of the greatest innovators of the world. He not only understood the needs of the consumers of the world, but with vision he created consumer needs.

He was definitely a role model for many CEOs like me. His legacy, "changing the world one person at a time," inspired me always.

He will be missed. My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones.

As a partner, guiding light, and friend

AT&T (T) CEO Randall Stephenson:
We are saddened by the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was an iconic inventor, visionary, and entrepreneur, and we had the privilege to know him as partner and friend. All of us at AT&T offer our thoughts and prayers to Steve's wife, family, and his Apple family.

Pixar Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter and Walt Disney (DIS) and Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull:
Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend, and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply "make it great." He is why Pixar turned out the way we did, and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar's DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife, Laurene, and their children during this incredibly difficult time.

Apple's Board of Directors:
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.

As a respected rival, visionary peer, and close friend

Google (GOOG) CEO Larry Page:
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.

Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer:
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.

Dell (DELL) CEO Michael Dell:
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.

From the people
And for those who never met him in person, Jobs will be remembered as the man whose inventions changed their lives in ways big and small. In the words of BobbyK, who commented on a DailyFinance story about Jobs' death, "Steve Jobs made more people happy than Santa Claus!!!!!"

Motley Fool contributor Dawn Kawamoto owns no shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Walt Disney, Western Union, Dell, Apple, Microsoft, and AT&T, as well as writing a covered straddle position in Western Union and creating a bull call spread positions in Apple and Microsoft.


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Don Adair

Steve Jobs, the contemporary equivalent of Thomas Edison, we all owe him, big time.

October 06 2011 at 9:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply