Who's the Next Steve Jobs?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - As the world laments the passing of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple ( AAPL) who passed away Wednesday at age 56, the creator of the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad is being compared to great tech visionaries like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

Yet the question remains: Who is the next Steve Jobs?
Steve Jobs

While analysts largely agree that Tim Cook is the right man to take on the role of Apple's CEO, finding a leader that can inspire millions across the globe and continually innovate to the extent that Jobs did is far more difficult.

Recognizing that Jobs is in a category of his own, here are five tech leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond whose impact and vision could one day rival that of the Apple co-founder.

Jeff Bezos

Amazon ( AMZN) CEO and founder Jeff Bezos is already taking on Apple's iPad with the Kindle Fire tablet, making the Jobs comparison not so far-fetched.

In just over 15 years, Bezos has turned Amazon from an online bookstore into the world's largest and most important e-commerce company selling everything from video games to furniture, food and toys. Its Kindle e-reader revolutionized the publishing industry, forcing stalwarts like Barnes and Noble ( BKS) and Borders to shift their own business models.

With the Kindle Fire, Amazon is looking to disrupt the tablet market by offering an easy-to-use, inexpensive model with its own ecosystem in place --- "premium products at non-premium prices," as Bezos said.

Like Jobs, Bezos is equally focused on putting the customer first. Note Amazon's mantra: "Earth's most customer-centric company."

He's also a risk-taker. Amazon is so intent on capturing share of the tablet market it's willing to weather a reported loss of $50 on each Kindle Fire sold.

Mark Zuckerberg

The comparisons between Steve Jobs and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are inevitable.

Both Jobs and Zuckerberg dropped out of college and made their billions young. Jobs first earned a spot on the Forbes richest list at the age of 27, while Zuckerberg made the list at 24.

And just like Jobs who commanded the attention of tech watchers everywhere with his iconic product demonstrations, Zuckerberg is learning how to work the crowd during his f8 keynote addresses.

While Zuckerberg doesn't yet have the experience of running a public company as Jobs did, he's still considered one of the world's most important tech titans. When Jobs sat on one side of President Obama at a White House dinner with tech leaders earlier this year, Zuckerberg sat on the other.

Zuckerberg, who reportedly modeled his early leadership style after Jobs, calls him "a mentor and a friend."

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is looking to disrupt the auto industry, just as Jobs did for consumer technology.

The Tesla ( TSLA) CEO is trying to wean the country off its dependence on oil by creating a fleet of affordable electric cars.

Last summer, Tesla became the first American car company go public in half a decade. It will vie with larger, older rivals like General Motors ( GM) and Ford ( F) who are also coming out with their own green car models.

As the auto industry continues to innovate in the next 10 years, Musk's Tesla is expected to be at the forefront of this shift.

"In our view, CEO Elon Musk may be similar to Steve Jobs in being a technology visionary also able to manage and create shareholder value," Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Milunovich wrote in a recent note.

Jack Dorsey

Like Jobs -- whose company remained a mainstay in technology through its consumer products more than 30 years after the original Macs were released -- Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has also proven that he's no one trick pony.

Despite amassing over 200 million users and becoming a mouthpiece of political revolution across the Middle East, Twitter hasn't been Dorsey's only success.

After leaving Twitter in 2009, Dorsey founded Square, a mobile payments start-up that allows small businesses and individuals to accept credit card transactions from their phones and tablets.

Clearly investors believe in Square. The company, whose technology's ease-of-use and elegance have been compared to Apple products, raised $100 million in venture funding in June.

And just like Jobs -- who resigned from Apple after a struggle with the board of directors in the 1980s and then came back years later -- Dorsey announced in March he would return to Twitter to lead product development.

Larry Page

Google ( GOOG) CEO and co-founder Larry Page was brought on with hopes of running the search giant less like a bureaucracy and more like a start-up to speed up innovation.

Only six months into the job, Page is already shaking things up in Jobs-like fashion.

In June, Google launched its social network, Google +, in an attempt to grab market share from Facebook. It also announced it is acquiring Motorola Mobility ( MMI) for $12.5 billion as it looks for ways to strengthen its position in the smartphone market against Apple (and control the entire mobile value chain, as Apple has already done).

-- Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran.

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