Microsoft Corp co-founder and chairman Bill Gates bid farewell to his long-time friend and competitor Steve Jobs on Wednesday, using the Apple co-founder's own words in his tribute.

For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor, Gates said in an e-mailed statement. I will miss Steve immensely.

Insanely great was of one of Jobs' favorite expressions.

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, Gates said.

Gates, 55, and Jobs, 56, were twin figureheads in the early development of personal computers in the 1970s and 1980s. They became friends and fierce competitors.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives, said Gates.

I'm truly saddened to learn of (his) death, he said. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.