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)

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (118 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.