President Barack Obama put him among “the greatest of American innovators”, rival Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates acknowledged his “profound impact” as tributes poured forth for the visionary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Only days after talking about how “cool” it was to get an iPad 2 early -- and directly from Mr. Jobs himself -- a saddened Mr. Obama placed him “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, he said. “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.”

Google’s Sergey Brin wrote on Google Plus: “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.”

And on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “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.”

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said “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.”

“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,” he said. “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Mourning the death of its founder, Apple said on its own website: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being.”

On the same page, the company also published an email address that it invited fans of Apple to use to send memories or condolences.

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