The age of Apple is over, says Peter Thiel

Commentary: In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the VC also says Elon Musk and Donald Trump are very similar.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Peter Thiel. Now sitting at Donald Trump's right hand.

Drew Angerer, Getty Images

Disruption has reached the highest levels of government.

And sitting there, ready to enjoy its fruits, is the entertainingly disruptive VC and Facebook board member, Peter Thiel.

A supporter of Donald Trump, Thiel is increasingly emerging into the light. In a new interview with The New York Times, he makes all kinds of fascinating observations about life, the universe and everything.

I'll come to those in a moment. Maureen Dowd, however, also subjected him to an interesting "Confirm Or Deny" Q&A, which will no doubt move many Apple fanpersons -- some to pick up cudgels or even deface their Facebook pages.

Dowd asked Thiel to confirm or deny that the age of Apple is over.

"Confirm. We know what a smartphone looks like and does. It's not the fault of Tim Cook, but it's not an area where there will be any more innovation," replied Thiel.

It's depressing to imagine that the iPhone was as good as it got. Stare at an Apple Watch for a few seconds, however, or at someone trying to answer a call on one, and you'll see his point.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

There have been many grumblings that Apple seems unable to lift spirits the way it once used to. Apple, though, wasn't the only company to enjoy Thiel's dark thoughts.

Asked whether Google had too much power in the Obama administration, Thiel offered: "Confirm. Google had more power under Obama than Exxon had under Bush 43."

Some might choose to chuckle, on the other hand, when this Facebook board member confirmed that people should trust Facebook. You see, he added: "Although, trusting in what way? There are a comical number of misguided conspiracy theories about Facebook." Some justified ones too, though, surely.

I'd rather thought conspiracy theories are in vogue currently. As is the notion that California should secede, which Thiel said he supported.

The main interview with Dowd trod familiar ground, but offered its own highlights too. Some featured Thiel's penchant for saying the opposite of the received wisdom, just to see if it might be wise too.

He said that any move to oust him from Facebook's board after his support for Trump was revealed was "kind of crazy." After all, he said, he's the second-longest-serving board member. Well, of course. Kind of crazy.

Asked whether Trump was similar to Tesla CEO Elon Musk -- with whom Thiel was once a member of the PayPal Mafia -- he replied: "I'm going to get in trouble, but they are, actually. They're both grandmaster-level salespeople and these very much larger-than-life figures."

And so we must conclude that Tim Cook may not be a grandmaster-level salesperson, but Trump and Musk are.

In a few years' time, will Thiel's prescience be grandmaster-level? Or are we currently witnessing another mere Grandmaster Flash-In-The-Pan?

Life, disrupted: In Europe, millions of refugees are still searching for a safe place to settle. Tech should be part of the solution. But is it? CNET investigates.

Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET. You can find them here.

Close
Drag