Softbank CEO: Steve Jobs like Leonardo da Vinci

TOKYO (AP) ? Softbank Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son, whose company is the sole carrier of the iPhone in Japan, compares Steve Jobs to Leonardo da Vinci.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs,” Son said in a statement. “Steve was truly a genius of our time, a man with a rare ability to fuse art and technology. In centuries from now, he will be remembered alongside Leonardo da Vinci. His achievements will continue to shine forever.”

Jobs died in the U.S. on Wednesday. He was 56.

Softbank has seen profits and subscriber numbers surge since embracing the iPhone in 2008. It overcame initial critics who said the device would flop in Japan, which until recently was seen as the birthplace of the world’s most advanced mobile phones.