Steve Jobs' Passing: Tech Weekly

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Silicon Valley lost its greatest innovator on Wednesday with the death of Steve Jobs at age 56.

News of the former Apple ( AAPL) CEO and co-founder's passing prompted an outpouring of grief, with tributes pouring in from around the world.

President Obama described Jobs as "among the greatest of American innovators" in a statement released by the White House. Cisco ( CSCO) CEO John Chambers also paid tribute to Jobs' creative genius, while HP's ( HPQ) Meg Whitman described Jobs as an American business icon.

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"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," said Microsoft ( MSFT) Chairman Bill Gates, in a statement.

Jobs stepped down from the Apple CEO's role in August, but continued as chairman of the company's board. The tech icon had fought pancreatic cancer during the last few years, but remained a visible figurehead at Apple, despite medical leaves of absence.

One of his last public appearances was at Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) in June, where he was the star turn, unveiling Apple's new iCloud service with trademark Jobsian élan.

Because Jobs was an unquestioned visionary, his death leaves a gaping hole at Apple, although analysts and investors are confident that the iPod, iPhone and iPad maker will enjoy continued success under new CEO Tim Cook.

Apple boss Tim Cook was in the spotlight on Tuesday, when he unveiled his first product as CEO, the iPhone 4S.

Despite rumors that a completely new iPhone 5 was on deck, the tech giant launched a souped-up version of its iPhone 4, much to the annoyance of many Apple zealots. Nonetheless, the iPhone 4S has a much faster processor than its predecessor, as well as an improved camera and worldphone capabilities.

Much of Tuesday's product demo in Cupertino, Calif. was taken up by "Siri" -- a sophisticated voice tool which can be used to make calls, send text messages and emails, as well as to find directions and a host of other information.

Apple also added Sprint ( S) to its list of iPhone carriers, fleshed out its iOS 5 and iCloud technologies and made a handful of iPod announcements.

Shares of Apple ended the week down $7.57, or 2.01%, at $369.8.

Oracle ( ORCL) was another tech heavyweight making news this week, hosting its annual OpenWorld event in San Francisco.

Larry Ellison unveiled the company's new Public Cloud offering on Wednesday, and, belligerent as ever, derided's ( CRM) cloud technology as a "roach motel."

Point-scoring aside, initial reaction to Oracle's virtualization-based cloud has been positive, with analysts seeing the technology as a crucial move for the firm.

Oracle shares closed the week down 10 cents, or 0.33%, at $29.91.

Sprint shares were halted briefly Friday afternoon after a volatile trading session fueled by a stream of news from the company's investor meeting.

Shares of the No. 3 telco surged more than 10% in morning trading after CEO Dan Hesse predicted the iPhone would be one of Sprint's most profitable devices.

Sprint, however, also said that it will need to raise money to build out its own 4G LTE network, according to Barron's, sending its shares spiraling. The Overland Park, Kan.-based firm explained that it will launch its 4G LTE network by mid-2012, completing the network buildout by the end of 2013. This sent shares of Sprint's current 4G partner Clearwire ( CLWR) into freefall, although the WiMAX specialist downplayed Sprint's comments.

Shares of Sprint closed down 60 cents, or 19.93%, at $2.41 on Friday. Clearwire's stock ended down 66 cents, or 32.2%, at $1.39.

Nuance Communications ( NUAN) agreed to acquire software maker Swype on Friday for $102.5 million.

Swype makes popular predictive software for smartphones, allowing users to swipe their fingers across keys rather than typing. Nuance shares closed down 30 cents, or 1.35%, at $21.60 on Friday.

Dell's ( DELL) Dell World customer event kicks off in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday. All eyes, however, will be on Google ( GOOG)when the Internet giant reports its third-quarter results on Thursday. In gadget news, Apple's iPhone 4S hits the shelves on Friday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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