VC Fred Wilson: Apple won't rule tech in 2020

The venture capitalist says the top tech companies in six years will be Facebook, Google, and "one that we've never heard of."

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Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures Joan E. Solsman/CNET

NEW YORK -- Venture capitalist Fred Wilson doesn't expect Apple to be in the upper echelon of tech companies in 2020, saying the top three will be Google, Facebook, "and one that we've never heard of."

Apple is "just too rooted in the hardware, they don't have anything in the cloud," he said Tuesday, speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt event here. "They don't think about data." Apple shares were recently up less than a percentage point, or $2.08, to $594.66.

Wilson, co-founder and partner at venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, is known for investing early in companies that have grown into major forces in technology and the Web, such as Twitter, Foursquare, and Kickstarter.

However, he didn't see Twitter in one of the very top spots in the coming years. "Twitter maybe will be maybe four, five, six, seven -- but I'm not sure they'll be one or two," he said.

The final unknown company rounding out the top three? Wilson says he doesn't know for sure which one it is, but he hopes he's already found it among his portfolio.

While a lack of data and cloud business is Apple's Achilles heel, neither do the majority of consumers think about data much either, he said, discussing privacy worries. "We ought to know what people are doing with our data and we ought to have some ability to control that," he said. "I think that people should be able to opt out of services that essentially mine their personal data and do things with it, but the majority of us probably will not do that."

 

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