US President Barack Obama has led the tributes to Steve Jobs, hailing him as one of America's greatest innovators, while commercial rivals also queued up to honour the Apple co-founder.
Mr Obama said in a statement: "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."
Mr Obama went on: "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."
Bill Gates, the founder of rival technology company Microsoft and friend of Mr Jobs, said he would miss him "immensely". "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 added.
Samsung, which is locked in an intensifying smartphone patent fight with Apple, said Mr Jobs was an "innovative spirit" who will be remembered forever.
Howard Stringer, the president and chief executive of Sony, whose iconic Walkman was the first choice in portable music before the iPod, said: "The digital age has lost its leading light, but Steve's innovation and creativity will inspire dreamers and thinkers for generations."
And Nokia, once the world's dominant mobile phone maker, before it was overtaken by Apple and the iPhone, also paid tribute with chief executive Stephen Elop saying: "Steve's passion for simplicity and elegance leaves a legacy that will endure."
Steve Wozniak, who started Apple with Jobs, said: "We've lost something we won't get back. The way I see it, though, the way people love products (that) he put so much into creating means he brought a lot of life to the world."
Mr Wozniak, a high school friend, last saw Jobs about three months ago, shortly after he emerged from medical leave to unveil Apple's iCloud content syncing service and the latest version of its mobile software.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page: "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."