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back to article PEAK APPLE: Mystery upstart to hurl iLord from its throne 'by 2020'

Venture capitalist Fred Wilson reckons Apple will no longer be the top dog of tech by 2020. He says the iPhone giant will be dethroned by a triumvirate of Google, Facebook and "one that we've never heard of". Speaking at a tech conference in New York on Monday, the Union Square Ventures moneybags said the Cupertino corp is " …

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Joke

"one that we have never heard of"?

That's a relief, I thought it might be "the one that must not be named"

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Re: "one that we have never heard of"?

Perhaps it'll be the one phone to rule them all.

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Re: "one that we have never heard of"?

Maybe it will be a cloud phone ( whatever that could be)

Venture Capitalists like to think of themselves as entrpreneurs but mostly they put their money into pretty sure bets with ironclad contracts that give them control of everything important and a healthy share of all and any goodies to be had.

So how does he have any idea of who is going where in 6 years ( a long time in IT)? Unless he has fingers stuck in Appoo's pie he is just making wild guesses, like Apple or not they seem to be getting enough things right to be cash rich and chucking the odd 60 or 70 million around as a bonus.

My prediction for 2020 is it will take 6 years to get there!

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Re: "one that we have never heard of"?

One that Fred Wilson's never heard of is probably Microsoft.

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Re: "one that we have never heard of"?

It will consist of a ring you put on your finger, whereupon your thumb becomes the microphone and your index finger the speaker. You dial by direct thought transference.

Only catches are the screen is in a big ball you have to lug around, and if you're late paying the bill you get eaten by orcs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "one that we have never heard of"?

Yep - that seems most likely to me too. Windows Phone is already selling more than Apple iPhones in 16 territories.

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Coat

Re: "one phone to rule them all"

Nah, it'll be one ring(tone) to rule them all...

Mine's the one with the Silmarillion in the pocket.

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Optional

"Yep - that seems most likely to me too. Windows Phone is already selling more than Apple iPhones in 16 territories."

LOL

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Re: "one that we have never heard of"? @ WinPho AC

Which territories are those, then? And who compiled the data?

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Re: Optional

Actually, Windows Phone now outsells the iPhone in 24 countries:

http://wmpoweruser.com/great-infographic-on-where-and-why-windows-phone-outsells-the-iphone/

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Anonymous Coward

@TheVogon (Re: Optional)

It's curious how those territories with WinPho overselling iPhone correlate to those where Nokia brand is the strongest, isn't it? We'll see how the WinPho will fare once they drop the Nokia moniker.

Somehow I doubt it will be the same rosy picture... But I may be wrong. In this regard while probably numerically correct, the report is unsuitable as a base for predictions or chest-thumping. I live in one such territory, I write this on Nokia device soon to be replaced by something non-WinPho. My loyalty was to hardware brand, not to Microsoft. That brand is no more.

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Re: "one that we have never heard of"?

"Yep - that seems most likely to me too. Windows Phone is already selling more than Apple iPhones in 16 territories."

Poverty tier territories. How is it against Android and Symbian in the same places? Or against "nothing at all?"

Windows Phone: the mobile OS where you have to give a really long think about using it, even when the alternative is "nothing at all."

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Re: "one that we have never heard of"?

Assuming the numbers are even correct to begin with. Color me cynic, but they are coming from a site called wmpoweruser (originally, from a "mobile payment company", done who knows how and subjected to who knows what inherent biases). Looks like an ad (hot on the heels of iPhone, really?). Genetic fallacy? Maybe, but I'd rather see something more substantial before drawing any conclusions.

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don't have anything in the cloud

and they are far to rooted in hardware

It seems to me that being into hardware especially stuff that is portable/mobile and not having anything in the cloud are actually bad things?

Improving the hardware does not need a 'cloud' solution.

My tip is that by 2020 this 'everything must be in the cloud' will have passed its sell by date. Some things will be out there but given the increasing amount of snooping that is going on, some things just should never ever go anywhere near a cloud solution.

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Oh Yeah...?

"...Fred Wilson reckons Apple will no longer be the top dog of tech by 2020..."

Window cleaner Herbert Bloggs disagrees with him, and furthermore says "Fred Wilson will no longer be much of a venture capitalist by 2020."

How many venture capitalists, analysts and bankers have we seen with egg-splattered faces in the last few decades?

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Re: Oh Yeah...?

Here's the thing. Fred Wilson sold his Apple shares when they hit 91. They are at 600 today. He advised all developers to move to "Android as that's where the money is" and now this.

Sounds like a guy who's pissed that his predictions were so wrong he sold his shares and is regularly putting out stuff like this to try and wish and hope that someday it might just happen.

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Roo
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Re: Oh Yeah...?

"How many venture capitalists, analysts and bankers have we seen with egg-splattered faces in the last few decades?"

Not enough I reckon, but that's probably because they avoid contact with plebs.

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Re: Oh Yeah...?

True, true - that said, according to the stats about VC performance released by the University of Texas a few years ago, Union Square is among the only VCs with a positive IRR.....

Still - blowhard.

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Re: Oh Yeah...?

Well said. He's got his head firmly stuck in the bog and his feet in the cloud. Having sold AAPL at ~$90 is not what a Californian tech VC proper would ever have done. He's certainly got no 20/20 eyesight, just anger in hindsight.

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Re: Oh Yeah...?

Isn't a venture capitalist someone who says, "I'll take all the money, you take all the risk"? They strike me as predators on young companies - and we know what predators on the young are called, don't we? :-)

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Happy

@Roo - Re: Oh Yeah...?

And we plebs have eggs, as Prescott found out...

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Right.

As if Apple didn't overcharge its customers enough, now it needs to offer Software-as-a-Service so that people rent programs instead of buying them! Meet: the iSafaribook - although, of course, it will need a different name.

Instead, how about ignoring Apple, and trying to topple Microsoft and Intel from their thrones by offering even better value to customers? But that's so twentieth-century.

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Re: Right.

>the iSafaribook - although, of course, it will need a different name.

Like iPad, maybe?

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Doesn't have anything in the cloud?

Other than music (sales, radio and file storage) and videos (sales and rentals), email, calendars, file transfers, photo transfers, app sales and an API for developers to build their own cloud based systems on top of? Other than that what have the Romans done for us?

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Re: Doesn't have anything in the cloud?

It isn't about being right, it's about riding on the free press you get anytime you challenge a market leader. He could have said the same thing about Samsung. Apple is a pretty good target though, since articles about them always get lots of traffic from both sides of the for/against Apple crowd.

It's a time honored strategy that can really pay off if you've got a real competitor, but it's risky as well because being equal to (compared product) isn't enough, you've got to be better and, ideally, cheaper. Making something 'better' but charging more than the current top of the field doesn't work. We'll see what happens, but at this point there's nothing tangible going to occur, it's just free press.

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Apple don't have anything in the cloud? Don't think about data?

Er, iTunes Store anyone? That little side project that they just about scrape a profit from....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple don't have anything in the cloud? Don't think about data?

It's trash compared to Google Music though, which has better selection of music, cheaper, better streaming options, free storage and scan and match.

Like everything Apple has, Google has already done it, and it's better/cheaper/more comprehensive.

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Meh

Re: Apple don't have anything in the cloud? Don't think about data?

> It's trash compared to Google Music though, which has better selection of music, cheaper, better streaming options, free storage and scan and match.

And the worst UI ever. I disabled it immediately and installed Poweramp.

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Re: Apple don't have anything in the cloud? Don't think about data?

"Like everything Apple has, Google has already done it, and it's better/cheaper/more comprehensive."

iTunes Store:

- Launched April 28, 2003

- 26 million songs

- 190,000 TV episodes

- 45,000 films

Google Music:

- Launched November 16, 2011

- 18 million songs

So Google has managed to "already do it" 8.5 years behind their biggest rival, with a 2/3 catalogue offering.

Price or user-friendliness notwithstanding (UI being in the eye of the beholder, and pricing no doubt varying label-to-label), remind us again how Google beat them to the punch with a more comprehensive solution?

Google do lots of things better than Apple. That doesn't mean they beat them to the punch every time. Nor that Apple don't have the edge in their own niches. They have a formidable wealth of experience and IP which is why they are where they are.

Remind me how old Sergei Brin was when Apple was developing the Newton arm-in-arm-with-ARM? Google didn't get there first now did they?

That said, Google was founded in 1998 and was a formidable force in search by 2003. It's not impossible that a disruptive start-up could be a household name in 5 years. If it replaced Apple though it would only because one of the other big players had toppled Apple with some game-changer.

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Re: Apple don't have anything in the cloud? Don't think about data?

If apple can claim they invented "insert random laughable apple patent here" before "insert probably nokia, and about 4 years prior) then I'm sure somebody can claim google had the music stores first, even though they were 8 years late.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple don't have anything in the cloud? Don't think about data?

Interesting - I didn't realise Microsoft were so far ahead - Xbox music has over 30 million tracks!

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/12-Month-Xbox-Music-Pass/productID.258412400

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Anonymous Coward

Apple products don't matter

Apple isn't so much a product company, it's more a lifestyle cult.

As long as the faithful remain faithful, the products available from other suppliers are irrelevant (to the faithful).

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Really? Again?

That would be the Apple Death Knell™ #65, right?

"In other news, Fred Wilson announces new startup that has something to do with the cloud and does think about data."

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Re: Really? Again?

Apple Deathwatch - now in its 38th year...

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Of course

You do actually need some kind of device to access the cloud, be it hand held or nailed to the desk. Provided Apple keep churning out products that significant numbers of people think are cool and better than anyone else's, they will do fine.

BYW. I think you'll find iTunes has been around longer than Google Music. In fact until today I didn't even know they had one.

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"they don't have anything in the cloud"

What about their (and many of their customers') heads?

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No, I think their heads are up something else.

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Firmly. You're right.

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I'm not so sure

Not that I am a fanboi, I can't say that I am a fan of any particular company. The situation is this, the only way for the big technology companies to stay on top is by acquisitions of smaller start-ups. The patent system is making it all the more harder for new companies to come up with something innovative that isn't covered by a generalized patent which has been registered by one of the big companies.

Also the big companies reach a point where they simply stop innovating, after a period of time they all lose their mojo. It is a fact of life. What we will see with the current economic system is less innovation over time, the markets dominated by a few big players who are locking out the capacity for truly innovative start-ups to play among the heavyweights. It seems the way of the market now is to develop an idea, show it can work and then sell it on to the big players before you have the chance to be majorly successful and as a result hit by a patent lawsuit by one of the established players. This is the fault of the patent system which allows such generalized patents that the only way to get a result is if you already have a shed load of cash at your disposal if you want to defend your claim. VC's know this and work from this point of view.

I would be very surprised if a new company could come along today and grow to the size of Google, Apple, Facebook, Oracle etc. The system is set against that happening.

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Re: I'm not so sure

"I would be very surprised if a new company could come along today and grow to the size of Google, Apple, Facebook, Oracle etc. The system is set against that happening."

The system is set against that happening in established markets

TFTFY

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Angel

Famous for it?

This is the Fred Wilson who is famous for having correctly predicted the rise and fall of a whole Valley of tech companies?

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so, within 5 years from a standing start, this new "X" company is going to build up a knowledge and expertise and develop an OS for mobile and desktop, thats is going to better a company that has being doing it for over 30 years, made mistakes, learned, changed, adapted, innovated and amassed over $150 billion cash mountain

i don't know if its just me, but I would LOVE to be alive to see something like that happen. Heck the last 10 years in tech have been pretty cool.

Did it occur to him that IF, just IF, this company X started and even remotely looked like gaining some sort of traction in year 1 or 2, Apple could just use some of that $150 billion and buy them?

My prediction: things will be much different in the future and by 2100 there will be other companies that we haven't heard of now.

Makes me much more valuable then him, as I can predict stuff WAAAAYYY further into the future.

Bollox

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quote: "Did it occur to him that IF, just IF, this company X started and even remotely looked like gaining some sort of traction in year 1 or 2, Apple could just use some of that $150 billion and buy them?"

He is a venture capitalist. You have just outlined his entire plan in a single sentence, minus the "...for significantly more than I have invested in them" at the end.

What will be amusing is if Apple don't buy the company, and he'll then have to start evangelising to MS / Intel / Google to see if they will take the bait instead.

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jai
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the clue is in his title

"Venture capitalist"

So presumably he has just, or is just about to, plunged a lot of money (probably not his own) into some cloud-based startup that needs a lot of hype.

And of course, Apple have no need of VC money, so that's probably why he doesn't see any relevance to them.

Google, on the otherhand, make a lot of noise about future technologies they've dreamed up, but haven't fully brought to market, and no one knows if anyone is really going to buy any of their products - so that's exactly the kind of company that this guy understands.

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What is a VC

To understand Fred Wilson's viewpoint, you have to understand who he is and what he does.

He is a Venture Capitalist. His job is to have money, and give it to the people who tell him things that he thinks are true. Right now, he's been sold on the idea of "cloud" and "big data", and he's given a bunch of money to people doing "cloudy" "big data" things, who have convinced him that what Apple are doing is no good for making money.

In fact, he's really convinced - he's put a wodge of his money (well ok, mostly other people's money, probably some of his own) in to this. Once you put $10m behind something, you're definitely singing from the same choir book.

Personally, I think that he is sort of on the right track - *startups* will find it very difficult to do what Apple are doing, concentrating on hardware, but Apple itself should have no problems - apart from the very very successful and profitable hardware division, they have enough cash to re-tool as they see fit and seem quite capable of identifying and exploiting new markets.

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Re: What is a VC

"Personally, I think that he is sort of on the right track - *startups* will find it very difficult to do what Apple are doing, concentrating on hardware, but Apple itself should have no problems - apart from the very very successful and profitable hardware division, they have enough cash to re-tool as they see fit and seem quite capable of identifying and exploiting new markets."

While I don't disagree with the thrust of this argument I would like to point out that all of the "identifying and exploiting new markets" that apple have ever done with any success was under the stewardship of Saint Jobs.

It remains to be seen whether Tim Cook is even partially as visionary. So far I have not seen it in him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is a VC

>Right now, he's been sold on the idea of "cloud" and "big data"

He's right about big data - he, or whoever is actually advising him, also has a valid point about cloud. Apple are a huge consumer (of EMC, Oracle, IBM, Amazon & MS products) in both respects not a player or tier 1 provider.

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As much as I would like Apple to trip over and land flat on their face, I don't that's going to happen any time soon. Especially when a 'venture captialist' predicts it, and even more so when he mentions the magic wank word "Cloud". Bingo, I win.

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The only way is down...

...if you're already at the top.

Hard to deny, really.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The only way is down...

Yes.

I predict that by 2020 Apple will not be more than the most valuable tech company.

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