Scores of tech pioneers and games industry luminaries are paying tribute to Apple magnate Steve Jobs, who last night announced he would step down as CEO of the iPhone company.
“Steve is the most remarkable person I have ever known,” said Trip Hawkins, the founder of Electronic Arts.
“I consider him the greatest CEO in history because he rescued Apple and Pixar at the same time, and both were major turnarounds,” he said.
Hawkins, who now runs mobile games outfit Digital Chocolate, said Jobs has “defined our generation and if the history books only mention one person from this period it will be him.”
The explanation for Jobs’s resignation from Apple is unclear. The entrepreneur, now 56, had previously suffered from pancreatic cancer.
“The world owes an enormous debt to Steve,” said Steve Perlman, creator of Apple’s original QuickTime player and now the CEO of cloud gaming group OnLive.
“He has spearheaded so many of the tech and design paradigms that today we take for granted,” Pearlman added, as quoted by Venturebeat.
“Steve is one of the most influential and inspirational people of our era, and his direct leadership of Apple will be missed.”
Entrepreneur Bing Gordon, who is now a Zynga board member, said he felt an “overwhelming pain, sorrow and empathy for Steve and [wife] Laurene and their kids.”
“I hope that Apple’s leaders can maintain and grow his legacy. Awe to have lived and worked in the same era as Steve Jobs. Our industry will be diminished without his leadership.”
Neil Young, the chief executive of Ngmoco, whose business began with games on iPhones, said it is “sad to see Steve step down, but also sure that Apple will continue to be very successful and that his values and approaches have been effectively institutionalised.”
Investors have reacted far more nervously. Apple’s share price fell 5 per cent in after-hour trading.
“Although we don’t personally know each other, I want to say thank you for being an inspiration to countless entrepreneurs such as myself to go out and think different,” said Nathan Lands, CEO and founder of Gamify.
“Your story is an amazing and inspirational one, and the inspired beauty and soul you infused into every product is something I think will go down in history. Wishing you health and happiness.”
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told Bloomberg that Jobs will “go down in history as the most important technical leader ever.”
Tim Cook will now officially become CEO at Jobs’s request.