- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TOKYO (AP) - Sony Corp. President and Chief Executive Howard Stringer describes Steve Jobs as the “leading light” in the digital age.

Few companies have felt Apple’s rise more so than Japan’s Sony, whose iconic Walkman transformed the music listening experience in the 1980s. But it was slow to embrace the shift to digital downloads. The Walkman was no match for Apple’s iPod when it launched in 2001.

But Jobs himself was deeply influenced by Sony and Japan. He counted Sony founder Akio Morita as one of his mentors and was said to have been inspired by the Walkman.

“The digital age has lost its leading light, but Steve’s innovation and creativity will inspire dreamers and thinkers for generations,” Stringer said in a one-sentence statement.

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