Peter Thiel has dim prospects for the world’s most valuable company.
The billionaire investor, Facebook (FB) director, and unlikely friend of the inbound Trump administration shared his belief that Apple’s (AAPL) gravy train is coming to an end in a recent interview with the New York Times. In Thiel’s view, the Cupertino colossus has reached its market potential.
As part of a game of “confirm or deny,” Thiel’s interlocutor, the Times’ Maureen Dowd, presented the statement “The age of Apple is over.”
Thiel agreed; “Confirm,” he said.
“We know what a smartphone looks like and does,” Thiel continued. “It’s not the fault of Tim Cook, but it’s not an area where there will be any more innovation.”
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Despite Thiel’s reputation as an avowed contrarian, his argument that the tech giant will struggle to innovate beyond the iPhone-as-we-know-it is not exactly unconventional. Amid slipping sales, analysts have voiced concerns that Apple, whose market cap exceeds $600 billion, has no “next big thing” in sight to combat declines in revenue growth.
Feeding the flames of skeptics, Apple last week reported that it missed its annual sales and profit goals for the first time since 2009, affecting executive compensation. Apple also reportedly shrunk its “smart” car ambitions, widely regarded as a contender for the company’s next blockbuster, in the fall.
Thiel has been known to make provocative pronouncements about tech companies before. In a 2014 interview with CNBC, he said that Twitter (TWTR) was a “horribly mismanaged” firm, and that there was “probably a lot of pot smoking going on there.”
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Thiel was less inflammatory in his latest evaluation. In his sit-down with the Times, he notably spared Apple CEO Tim Cook any scorn.