The head of Nokia Corp. said Thursday that Steve Jobs will be remembered for generations for his simple and elegant designs, calling the Apple founder and competitor "a true visionary."
Stephen Elop said his thoughts "and those of everyone at Nokia are with the friends and family that he (Jobs) leaves behind."
Jobs, who died Wednesday at the age of 56, transformed everyday technology from personal computers to cellular handsets, including Apple Inc.'s iPhone touch screen, a feature found in Nokia's latest models including the N8 and its flagship N9, launched last month.
The once dominant Finland-based company has struggled in the smartphone market due to fierce competition from the iPhone and from Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry _ a favorite of the corporate set. Nokia has also felt the pinch from Google Inc.'s Android software that has emerged as the choice for many smartphone makers.
"Apple and Steve Jobs innovating the consumer user experience by taking smartphones to another level created more competition," said Neil Mawston, from Strategy Analytics.
In the second quarter this year Nokia was overtaken in smartphone volumes by its chief rival, whose iPhones sold more than all Nokia smartphone models together.
Already in the first quarter, Apple was making more money on iPhone sales than Nokia was on its N8 and other smartphones.
Nokia and Microsoft Corp. announced February that they were joining forces in the smartphone market. A key challenge will be to produce quality devices with a hip factor to help their new Windows 7 Phone become an attractive alternative in a market where image plays a central role, something Apple mastered with Jobs at its helm.