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Silicon Valley elite honour Apple founder Steve Jobs

Actor Stephen Fry joined Silicon Valley nobility in paying tribute to revered Apple cofounder Steve Jobs at a private memorial service held under tight security at Stanford University on Sunday evening.

“I don’t know that there was ever a more beautiful memorial service,” the British actor and raconteur wrote on Twitter. “Everyone who spoke did so with such passion and love and simplicity.”

Security teams from Apple and Stanford along with local police officers cordoned off the main quad on campus, only granting access to those with invitations to the private event.

Guests were directed to the university chapel for the service. Candles lined a path leading from the church to a museum, where a soiree in honour of the man behind iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Macintosh computers was to be held later on.

Chauffeur-driven black cars and sports-utility vehicles, some with government plates, parked close to the chapel entrance as guards shooed away inquisitive passersby and people snapping pictures of attendees.

Strict security
Some guests were ushered in through a heavily patrolled rear entrance to the small Romanesque and Byzantine style church at the centre of campus which has survived two major earthquakes.

The church is able to hold more than 1 000 people.

The list of those invited to the memorial for Jobs — who died on October 5 at age 56 — was rumoured to include former US vice president Al Gore, who is a member of the Apple board, and founders of several top internet firms.

The heir apparent of South Korea’s Samsung Group attended the service despite an ongoing legal battle with Apple, an industry source who declined to be named told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Jay Y Lee, the only son of chairperson Lee Kun-Hee and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics, was attending in response to an invitation from Apple CEO Tim Cook, the source said.

“Samsung, despite the legal rows, has maintained close ties with Apple as a major component supplier of panels and chips,” said the source, adding the younger Lee was close to Jobs and Cook.

Rival respect
A Samsung Electronics spokesperson declined to comment, saying the visit was a private matter.

Samsung, the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones, and Apple are at loggerheads in a series of patent lawsuits over the technology and design of smartphones and tablet computers.

But the South Korean firm last week delayed the launch of a new smartphone based on Google’s latest Android operating system as a gesture of respect for the legendary Jobs, who died after a long battle with cancer.

While Apple was heavily managing the scene on Sunday, responses to invitations were directed to the Emerson Collective, a philanthropic organisation founded by the Apple cofounder’s wife, Laurene Powell Jobs.

The soiree in memory of Jobs at the Stanford museum following the service was expected to last late into the night.

Steve Jobs Day
California Governor Jerry Brown declared Sunday as “Steve Jobs Day” in the western US state, saying he had “embodied the California dream”.

“To call him influential would be an understatement … His innovations transformed an industry, and the products he conceived and shepherded to market have changed the way the entire world communicates,” Brown said.

Jobs was buried in a private ceremony at a nondenominational cemetery three days after his death.

The Apple cofounder was also to be honoured during an October 19 memorial for firm employees at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Apple has not indicated plans for a public memorial for Jobs, but people have paid tribute to him with flowers, candles, messages and more outside his home, the company headquarters and Apple retail stores around the world.

Jobs was a “uniquely Californian visionary. He epitomized the spirit of a state that an eager world watches to see what will come next”, Brown said in his proclamation. — AFP

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Glenn Chapman
Glenn Chapman
AFP technology correspondent

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