Will Apple still be the top dog in eight years?

Fred Wilson, the Union Square Ventures co-founder, said Monday that Google and Facebook will be among the top three companies in 2020.

The third company in that exclusive club? Who knows, maybe “one that we’ve never heard of,” said Wilson at the New York TC Disrupt event.

But it won’t be Apple, he said, according to Business Insider.

Wilson, an investor in Twitter, Foursquare and Kickstarter, didn’t appear to offer his criteria for firms that will be in the top echelon. Is it by influence? Revenue? Profits? Stock price?

Instead, Wilson knocked Apple on a variety of fronts, telling interviewer Michael Arrington:

Apple is too rooted to hardware and I think hardware is increasingly becoming a commodity. Their stuff in the cloud is largely not good. I don’t think they think about data and the cloud in the way you need to think about things.

For the past decade, Apple has been one of the key drivers of innovation and change in the tech industry. Competitors look to Apple’s announcements as a template of where consumer tech is heading. The company has taken its competitors to court for patent infringement.

Apple is currently the reigning king of Silicon Valley by at least one measure: sales.  As I noted in a column about the annual ranking of local tech firms, the Mercury News Silicon Valley 150, Apple ranked No. 1, a position it has held for three years.

But Apple’s revenue growth – at 5.6 percent in 2013 – has been slowing. Investors are hoping for a new gadget this year to create Apple’s next surge.

The company is currently on a medical tech hiring spree, according to Reuters, which analyzed LinkedIn profile changes. Speculation is that Apple is planning an iWatch, its first wearable technology that will have a health focus.

Apple’s products have a sleek, jewelry feel. The iWatch, if introduced, will have to have high form and function, given the aesthetic history the company has to live up to.

Above: Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering for Apple, presents new features of iOS 7 for the iPhone in June 10, 2013.  (Gary Reyes/ Bay Area News Group)


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  • Wilson: “…commodity…”
    People have been saying that for soooooo many years now – yet Apple has continually defied that reaping high profits from high end – high quality – devices.

    I would not want to say that Apple is definitely in top 3 (rather arbitrary number here) but anyone who SERIOUSLY tries to predict the future of tech is – uh, shall we say – amusing.

  • Good ‘ol Freddie sold his $AAPL at $97 according to PED. So obviously I’m tripping over myself to listen to what he has to say. At some extent he is right to say that in upcoming years Google and FB will be the big giants. It reflects from the stock price of Google

  • Codger37

    It used to be easier to find a finance pundit who had Apple dead in months. So now they’re supposed to be sent to the wilderness within 6 years.

    It would be a shame to see Apple cease as they have often given us great new technology and even if only by their copy cat rivals, allowed for advances we’d not have had.

    Apple remains a firm that both investors and uses love. They’re good for whatever ails us from energy use to tech support. The litigation issue is a non issue as they’re responding to the insane policy that got us to those kinds of patents. The legal industry has a negative impact on us all, but Apple has been like the doctor who suggested them for what ails us. Worked for my outifts and personally as well. Don’t have all their many toys and yet to buy from their App store. Satisfied with my old and new hardware and did not catch the i-Pad given the lightness of Air. My phone just worked better than the Blackberry and not inspired to go with a 5 as my earliest 4 is great, still. Original battery too!

    Facebook as Amazon for itself. Google became half and half. The writer needs to get out more and talk to people who use the stuff. PS: Yes, their stock is like the gadgets. 🙂