Fred Wilson writes off Apple, and not for the first time


Wilson and Arrington

FORTUNE — Has it only been five years since Fred Wilson dumped all his Apple (AAPL) shares?

The day was Jan. 7, 2009, and Steve Jobs had just issued a statement about his heath that the co-founder of Union Square Ventures believed — correctly, as it turns out — was false.

“As good as the company is,” Wilson wrote, “I just can’t own a stock when I don’t believe the company is being straight with investors.”

So he sold his entire position in Apple at $91.36 per share.

On Monday, Apple closed at $600.96, an increase since that day of 578%.

I mention this because Wilson was back in the news Monday with another provocative statement about Apple.

At this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York, former TechCrunch CEO Michael Arrington asked Wilson to predict which Internet companies would be the most valuable in 2020.

Their exchange:

Wilson: Google, Facebook and one that we’ve never heard of.

Arrington: OK. Why is Apple gone?

Wilson: Because I think they’re just too rooted to the hardware. And I think that hardware is increasingly becoming more commodity. They don’t have anything in the cloud to speak of, and the stuff they have in the cloud I think is largely not good. And I just don’t think they think about data and the cloud in the way you need to think about things.

Wilson made his name and fortune through investments in such Web 2.0 companies as TwitterTumblrFoursquareZyngaKickstarter, and 10gen. He also made news three years ago when he advised app developers to write first for Google’s (GOOG) Android, and maybe later for Apple’s iOS.

“As I’ve been saying for several years now,” he wrote in April 2011, “I believe the mobile OS market will play out very similarly to Windows and Macintosh, with Android in the role of Windows. And so if you want to be in front of the largest number of users, you need to be on Android.”


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