Tributes to the late Steve Jobs have poured out around the globe from political leaders, business chiefs and the millions of consumer fans of Apple, the company he built into the world’s second biggest by market capitalisation.
Investors reacted calmly to the news of Jobs’ death at 56 on Wednesday, with Apple shares slipping only slightly on Thursday in New York, giving the company a market value of $350bn.
There had been a succession process at the company, with longtime number two Tim Cook having taken over as chief executive in August as Jobs’ health declined. Sector analysts forecast few big changes in the near term for Apple.
Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray, the investment bank, said Jobs’ last great act had been grooming his successor, Mr Cook, who he said was the ideal candidate to continue his work.
“We believe the ethos of Steve Jobs, his vision and his work ethic, will forever drive Apple,” Mr Munster said, reiterating the company’s overweight rating.
Apple staff are preparing the release of the latest iPhone – the 4S – next week and of new software and cloud services.
Jobs’ death prompted a deluge of tributes for the man regarded as one of the most influential American business leaders of his generation who transformed the consumer electronics and media industries with products renowned for distinctive design.
“By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity,” said Barack Obama, US president. Other political leaders paying tribute ranged from Felipe Calderón, Mexico’s president, to Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister.
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple with Mr Jobs, told CNN television he was a “great, great visionary and leader”.
Even long-time business rivals such as Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder joined in. “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,” he said.
On Google, “Steve Jobs” was the most searched term on Thursday while Twitter saw heavy traffic from users posting message tributes.
In China, some 63m online tributes were posted on Sina Weibo, the country’s leading microblog, by Thursday evening Beijing time, according to Xinhua.
Jobs was ranked 109th on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires, with a net worth of about $8.3bn as of June 2011.
Most of his wealth was represented by Walt Disney shares obtained after selling Pixar to the group. Jobs’s Disney stake is valued at $4.4bn. Last year he had 5.426m Apple shares, which would be worth more than $2bn.
Details of his estate were not available. “Steve Jobs was an extremely wealthy man. He no doubt consulted very good lawyers,” said Lawrence Friedman, a law professor at Stanford University. “He probably had some kind of complicated trust that he set up.”
Mr Jobs is survived by sister, Patti Jobs; his wife Laurene Powell-Jobs and his three children with her: daughters Eve Jobs, Erin Sienna Jobs and a son, Reed Jobs. He has another daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
With a trust, Mr Jobs’ heirs would likely avoid paying any taxes on any of his assets or stock holdings, Mr Friedman said. The US federal estate tax rate is 35 per cent, but any wealth Mr Jobs left to his wife or to charity would be exempt. California collects no state inheritance or estate taxes.
The release date for an impending biography of Mr Jobs has been pushed up to October 24, according to its publisher Simon & Schuster. The book, called Steve Jobs and written by Walter Isaacson, the former managing editor of Time magazine, has become the number one bestseller on Amazon’s customer purchase list.